Friday Fives – foolin & skoolin

April is nearly over and we are tumbling toward May and soon it will be the season of graduating. It seems like every class has a graduation now, so how about you

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Did you enjoy your senior year of high school?

Oh yes. Too much, in fact. So much so that a couple of our crew didn’t even graduate. Too busy having fun. Especially since we all turned 18 that year. Once you did that, you could get your parents to sign a form saying you were allowed to call yourself out from school. Too many parents signed that, including mine. It’s fine, I graduated and got into college. I would, however, STRONGLY advise parents not to give their 18 year olds the power to ditch school at will with no consequence.

wait, aren’t I supposed to say what all of us celebrities say about high school?  “I was a total dweeb.  I didn’t have any friends, and I was ugly.  I spent my time playing dungeons and dragons with Darryl and Darryl.  I didn’t have any social skills, it was a nightmare.”

not true for me.  I was decently popular, had some wonderful friends, and just a perfect life.  Plus, I had long hair… so I was cool.  At least, that is the story I am telling.  Jamie, I do not need you to pipe in here.  I wasn’t good looking jock class president, but you can see I didn’t not aspire to be those things.  I did play football, have always loved football.  I was too scrawny to play proper.  So, we played at lunch on the football field every day.  Tackle, of course!

Did you have a senior trip (high school) and were you able to go on it.

No. Not to my knowledge, at least. It’s a bummer. I would have LOVED to do one of those exchange student things. Go live in France for a semester and live with a family. I got to do that in college in Mexico, and it was amazing.

Was graduating (from either high school or college/university) a big thing with your family or just another day?

I am very proud to say it was just another day. My parents put a premium on education, and my mom was a teacher. Both my parents are college grads, and everyone of their children (my two brothers and I) graduated college. There is I, the youngest, and then Scotty and Johnny.

What were you looking forward to the most after graduating from either high school or college/university?

Being able to choose my education, and class times. For example, I signed up for algebra my freshman year, at 7:45 am. This was a big mistake on SO many levels. I learned it is impractical for me to take any class before 10 am. Especially since I was not living on campus my first year.  Getting to choose my own classes was HUGE.   I guess they have ‘electives’ in high school now, but they didn’t 30 years ago.

That is when ASU really cheesed me off.  Sorry to swear, but I am passionate.  I quickly discovered a love for psychology.  Psychology is amazing.  perhaps you are thinking of therapy when you think of studying psychology.  No sir.  Psychology is in every single interaction in your life.  It affects your relationships, your job, your well being.  It is super fascinating.  ASU wouldn’t let me take any classes beyond the 101 and 102.  I had to be a declared Psych major to take more classes.  I am, as you will see, still pissed about this.   So, you have classes available?  and there is room in the classroom right now?  and I pay you guys all this money?  and I just want to show up and learn… and that isn’t an option?  Well… fuck you, buddy!  I left ASU after my freshman year and moved up to Flagstaff.

I wish I could tell you I graduated with my psych degree at NAU.  I didn’t.  I chickened out, thinking “what would I do with that?”  I mean, I know it is wickedly valuable as a human to understand humans… but how would that pay the bills?  I certainly didn’t want to be a therapist.  I need a practical degree that will get me rollin in the Benjamins… er… Hamiltons.   So… um… I got a literature degree.  I had no, and still have no, intention of teaching.  that’s ok, I don’t know if any of my friends or associates who are working in the field that they majored in.

Teachers in AZ for the public schools make about $16 an hour.   Even better?  They expect you to get a masters at the very least.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your graduating self?

Learn a trade. A skill. If you have a trade (something physical: plumber, electrician…) you can work anywhere. You can’t get outsourced to the Philippines, which I have been several times being in telecom for 22 years. My pops was totally against the concept of physical labor for a living. He thought that was beneath him. He didn’t fix things, he hired people to fix things. I think he was quite proud of this. My dad’s philosophy was ‘work smart, not hard’. I like Mike Rowe’s philosophy, which is work smart AND hard. There is nothing wrong with hard work and being handy. I am now pretty handy, and I am super proud of that. I didn’t grow up restoring the old Jeep Willis with my pops in the garage.

It’s possible he didn’t know the difference between a flathead screwdriver and a Philips. Here is an example. He had 3 perfectly healthy boys. And we had a big ass hard. He hired Mexicans to mow the lawn. That is SO silly. We should have been mowing the lawns. Again, he felt that was beneath us. I am not mad or sad, because his intentions were awesome. Just not at all practical. Especially now that I am a homeowner. I am still learning how to fix stuff. It isn’t pretty. Generally, when I am ‘fixing’ something, I initially break it worse. But then, I know what I am going. Here is a practical example – first time I replaced and installed a garbage disposal under the sink… took me 3 hours. Second time I did one, it took me 30 minutes.


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