Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Professor

When I was at the more-intellectual-than-thou college in New Hampshire, I had a professor there named Dr. Arnault. He was awesome and I had a heart-wrenching, weak-kneed, school-girl crush on him despite his gray hair, beautiful wife, and seven children.

He was a tough grader of my papers, but a C with a compliment was worth more than an A from any other professor I have had before or since. And he was so cool. It's hard to explain his coolness, but I'll give it a shot. You know how when you are about 18 or 19, you tend not to have much of an intellectual sense of humor? Sure you can drink and laugh it up, but it was really hard (at least for me) to write anything amusing, and almost impossible to read anything amusing and get the joke. (Aside: I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.)

We were doing a class on William Faulkner whom I considered not funny at best, and horribly depressing at worst. It was hard for me as an 18 year old to see any humor at all in Faulkner. But when Dr. Arnault would read exerpts aloud in class he'd start chuckling at something then start laughing so hard he had to wipe his eyes. And suddenly, instead of depressing, Faulkner became 4 dimensional. So I credit Dr. Arnault pointing out the humor in literature (which I have always taken waaaaaaay too seriously).

One of my proudest moments came at lunch one day. A group of professors plopped themselves down at our table and asked us how we were enjoying The Great Gatsby which we were studying at the time. Everyone else started toadying up and saying how much they liked it and pointing out metaphors and all of the rest of the idiocy that comes when people try to prove their intelligence.

When I got a chance to speak up, I said it was alright, but I thought it was kind of overrated. I told them I hadn't read the book previously and it had always been built up to be this masterpiece, but upon reading it, it seemed a little dull.

I wasn't saying any of this to be different or to stand out. I rarely do things like that. I know it may not seem that way, but you'll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, it was my honest opinion. Dr. Arnault nodded his head and said something along the lines of, "I feel the same way. It's alright, but it's not the masterpiece it's cracked up to be."

For Dr. Arnault to agree with you was, among the students, the undisputed intellectual feather in one's cap - the holy grail, if you will. As long as enough people heard about it, it could cement your reputation as an intellectual contender, at least at that college.

I fully and freely admit that I was not and am not any kind of intellectual powerhouse. If I were to define myself in the intellectual sense, I would say that I was quirky with just enough edge to be mildly interesting. Not the stuff of genius exactly, but it's as much as I have a right to expect.

What I'm long-windedly boiling down to is that I'm not going to finish college. I could, but I won't. It is really depressing to me because I wish I could set a good example for the girls. But I won't go back to school on principle. It is too expensive, and any degree I'd get wouldn't amount to JACK SQUAT.

1 comment:


On : 12/28/2004 11:31:00 AM Inanna (www) said:

My dad has two or three degrees and he never used one of them for employment. Don't worry about it. Just be you and be proud, that's the most important lesson for Gwennie and Emma. I want a pic of you with the necklace and earrings on!


On : 12/28/2004 12:01:46 PM Zelda (www) said:

It's coming. I have to dig my dress out of my summer box.


On : 12/28/2004 12:46:30 PM Angi (www) said:

I have never once used my degree. Never, and I don't plan on it either. I get a headache just walking into the courthouse, so I know I couldn't spend my days in there. Anyhow, my job as a mom is WAYYYYYYY more important.


On : 12/28/2004 5:17:18 PM Gooch (www) said:

Yeah, I'd have to say that my Senior Thesis on John Updike's "Rabbit Tetralogy", while perhaps an interesting project to undertake, has done little to help me in my chosen career of hawking integrated audio-visual technology systems.


On : 12/28/2004 5:18:28 PM girlie (www) said:

I love The Great Gatsby lol


On : 12/28/2004 6:30:50 PM Jeanette (www) said:

College degrees, IMO, are something you have do for yourself, for one reason or another. I never got a college degree and I'm doing okay in my career. My brother never got his college degree and he's fine, too. From what I've read, it appears that you're doing fine in your profession of choice.

My mom went BACK to college after my brother and I turned 18, she got her degree and was immediately hired to work as a college teacher in South Korea. She's been over there almost 11 years.

People who get their degree and then have a sense of entitlement about what job they'll get right away are in for a rude shock.

Besides, you don't need no Jack Squat, you have Jethro Doc. ;)


On : 12/28/2004 10:40:38 PM Seven (www) said:

lol i was gonna make a serious comment but Jeanette got me
laffin so hard...

i agree, no to have a degree and i suk so it can go either way!

you don't need a degree to be a dumass like me! lol