Tuesday, March 15, 2005


"Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem."

-- Henry Kissinger

That's why I never liked school as a kid. Because once you start, whether it's from nursery school or pre-kindergarten or kindergarten or whenever, the train ain't stopping. Each grade is progressively more difficult than the one before it; Grade 5 is harder than Grade 6, Grade 7 is harder than Grade 8, and so on and so on, all the way up until the end of university.

And what's the reward for all of our academic all-nighters?

Real life!

That ain't right. We study, we slave, we go without Springer on a daily, even weekly basis, only to be rewarded by the reality of having to find an actual paying job in the world outside of academia.

Oh, but it doesn't stop there, either.

Once we get a job, if we're any good at it, we eventually get a better job. And what does 'better' actually mean?

More responsibility.

More workload.

More headaches.

Just a few years ago, Bush was chilling as owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, trying to figure out who to trade and who to keep. Trying to line up which beer company would sell the suds at his Texas stadium, probably. And now? Now he carries around a suitcase that contains the secret codes that can launch nuclear weapons at a moment's notice.

Think about it.

Kind of a leap in responsibility, no?

Do we want all that added pressure in our lives? (Not that we all carry around nuclear launch codes, no, but some of us do.)

Maybe yes.

Maybe our reward for all of our hard work in school and on the job is more work, work that allows us to, hopefully, challenge ourselves, achieve our potential, reach for the top and possibly cure a major disease, if we're lucky. (Or even a minor one.)


Underachievement is underrated, in my book.

And kids need to know what's coming.

I think it's incumbent on every parent to sit their child down the evening before their first day of kindergarten and say:

"Tonight is the last night of your life. Stay in the bath a little longer, play with the rubber duckie, read The Cat In The Hat one more time. I'll even let you stay up late. Because after tomorrow morning, it ain't gonna get any easier."

Or maybe it's better to keep that particular speech to yourself.

If I knew at four what I know now, I might have played sick that first day of school.

And the next, too.

And the next...


Muktuk said...

Getting my Juris Doctor degree, I can TOTALLY relate. But, I'm only doing this after going to high school, and a four-year institution and working in the real world for almost 5 years finding that my only options in life were to work really hard for assholes for no pay.

So, in addition, I think we do this because we want "things" and "stuff". Society is not set up to allow people to have "things" and "stuff" without money. In order to get money, you have to be 1 % of the population that can start a booming business as an entrepeneur or you can go to school more than the average individual and/or work harder than the average individual and make lots of money so you can have lots of "stuff."

We do all these things for the love of money and maybe peripherally for mental stimulation. Or else I'd be working in a pizza place forever cause I did that one summer and it was fun:)

(I think that the pre-kindergarten talk is on the money, but would lead to serious developmental issues and is best reserved for a 20-year post kindergarten conversation.)

Amanda said...

I totally hear you on this one. I have been contemplating retirement since I entered the workforce a scant five years ago. I am working on creating my quarter-life retirement plan.

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