i've been trying to read the big test,
but its idea that people with the "right" education constitute some sort of ruling class who shape society makes me physically ill, so i am going to read it as fast as i can and then bury it in our overcrowded basement. i don't think i've been this nauseated by a book since i first read gail sheehy's "passages" 20 years ago. coincidentally both books feature lawyers as the main protagonists. i can see why people hate lawyers, as many of them are eminently hatable, particularly the ones who went into lawyering because they lacked practical marketable skills. said people's entire usefulness to society is based on how our system is defined, so the ones who actually can face thinking about this issue seem to be constantly in search of self-justification or self-aggrandizement. curing society's ills. formulating grand plans.
i have relatively few such qualms. i exist; that's weird enough. having finally accepted the fact that i will continue to exist until forces Beyond My Control delete me, mostly i try to make sure i and i survive. sometimes i get fired up about things (this whole andy situation is a case in point), but when you come down to it, i have the working-class attitude that a job is something you do to make money, not an indispensable, sacred calling. (unless you're one of those truly saintly mother-theresa sorts and i would bet that they too see it as a job. day to day with love.
despite my despision of "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance", i still think Quality and Craftsmanship are the worthiest of goals. (I'd throw in Integrity, but everybody would have to understand that that merely means being True to Yourself.) some days i'd dearly love to go back to being an engg, as one could be most useful (when one was given the tools, materials and permission to Be by the Powers that Be) but there's no future in it and my bad back wouldn't stand for it.
if and when i ever have a child, i will have to be honest and tell them that i think the "meritocratic" educational system is a gigantic crock even as i have benefitted from it. i would like to tell them i feel the same way about the institution of marriage, but i don't want them to get the incorrect idea that i can't deal with commitment or that i don't love their daddy. hopefully if they are kids of mine they'll have enough brain working to drop any stupid romantic emo notions and get my drift. no matter how it is defined or redefined, life is just a bunch of systems that one has to learn to game.
as for the edjumacational system, i see precious little merit in all the babble about prep schools and SATs that i used to have to listen to from the denizens of columbia (when I lived there I used to hear that crap from the soccer moms online at the local McD's, and the doctor's wives in the grocery store, and I would get so angry and sick to my stomach that I would get an anxiety attack and have to leave), and now hear regularly from some of my fellow lawyers. as far as i can tell, education plays little part in whether you grow up to be someone intelligent or some dorkwad getting drunk five times a week and crying all day because somebody doesn't love you enuf. or in whether you grow up at all, because as far as i'm concerned if you're not showing some signs of maturity in my book by age 16 if not age 12 then i wish you'd air mail yourself to a remote island and not bother me. i have been working my whole life on developing more patience, just in case i birth the sort of kid who cries at college because it misses its home and its favorite blanket - I keep telling myself that sort of child is at least preferable to, say, one who gets whacked out on drugs and comes home and shoots its parents in their bed - but I fear I have still got a ways to go.
i will end this longwinded post now, but it was for me, not for you.