Some Days Are Better Than Others
Was just in a retail establishment and there was a guy ahead of me. He and the clerk were doing the hoo-hah, glad this day’s over dude. The customer said, “it’s one of those days”. I know what he means, he had what looked like some Anheuser-Bush products and a cigar. I complimented him on his squared away preparation and he said he was headed to the porch. In South Georgia, that could mean several different things, with only a few actually having a porch in the activity.
My grandfather used to tell me, “every day is good son, some are just better than others”. A great wisdom teaching again from the Chairman. He taught me many, many things. His view of the material and matter centric world was really summed up in his question, “how many automobiles can you drive at one time?”. I mean, that is it, end of discussion, boom.
He lived to within several weeks of his 98th birthday. But, he grabbed the gusto as close as you can get it. No kidding. He considered one of his 79-year-old lady friends to be a “young girl, I’m 97 years old son!”. No, I am not making this up, I’m not that clever.
What I am grindingly getting to is our new, new, world; the values we seem to espouse and the reality that a lot of folks have a tough time navigating the matrix like quality of our day to day. I live mostly in a small, South Georgia community, so my view is ephemeral at best. But, even here, the Bravo Channel and upload speeds seem to be at least relevant.
Young adults have a hard time finding their way, out in the ‘world’. We have securitized the college experience and our college (of some sort) seat to high school kid ratio has never been higher. The costs of a fancy university education are too ludicrous to even discuss and the state university system, at least in Florida, seems to be for others far more than residents of Florida. I could be wrong, Google it.
Not everyone is suited for a university experience and there is zero problem with that. Then, when you take a good look around at the university/college system and the skills acquired for the cost incurred, something doesn’t add up. There was a kid the other day downtown here and he had on a Clemson University t-shirt. I asked him about that and he told me he had just been with his parents looking at Clemson and at Furman University. Furman is in Greenville, South Carolina and it probably one of the prettiest campuses I have ever seen. The bell tower, the rolling, green and manicured hills with an incredible vista of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Breathtaking. Equally breathtaking was when he told me the annual cost of Furman was something in the neighborhood of $60 large per annum. What? Furman is a liberal arts school, primarily, and that’s perfectly cool. But, how many people can sink over a quarter of a million dollars into basically a degree which has no immediate practical use, leaving out the law school to come.
There is a guy running for Governor of Florida this cycle. I will leave out his name, if you pay any attention you know who he is, most likely. Anyway, he says, out loud, that a lot of kids today do not need degrees they can’t use and bills they can’t pay. Then, he says, straight to the camera, “and it’s ok to say it”. Another BOOM moment. He is exactly right, you know it, he knows it and the kids know it.
No, I haven’t forgotten about math and the sciences. Of course, if a student is headed for science; whether engineering, medicine, chemistry, mathematics and so on, then of course the university is the venue of choice. I don’t have any numbers on this, but I would suspect we are talking way less than 10% of the total potential college students. I majored in accounting and keg beer. Yes, I benefitted greatly from the experience and it is doubtful I could have acquired that much accounting, and related business knowledge, in the few years I was there, (ok, just you know, The University of South Carolina). The difference is, I pretty much payed for it myself and I can remember the semester’s tuition at less than $800 Yankee dollars. Shit, they have books that cost that much now. The whole text book thing is a huge worm hole left for another time.
The only people I have actually talked too about expensive as shit schools where the ones who went to places like Harvard Business School. Well, what are you paying for there? Sure, the case study method is cool, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and all that. That’s not what any of them said. They said the big deal with HBS was who was there, not what you learned. Come on, somebody says they don’t get this, just stop it, really. I spoke with a guy (big guy) who played at Michigan State for Nick Saban back in the day. We were at the Fountaine Bleau Hotel on Miami Beach at a cigar and a small batch, thimble portion whiskey pairing, tasting, whatever. Complete bullshit. But, he said he was in private equity in New York City and HBS “changed his life”. How? Who he met, their friends, his network, alumni and the whole deal. I am not exactly certain but being ‘in’ private equity in New York City sounds like a big deal. But, for complete disclosure here, it sounds like one giant pain in the ass. Can’t eat but one steak at the time, remember?
Ok, let’s stop this madness. It is fairly obvious I am talking about how various groups and interests value things. The Harvard thing is an extreme case as is the kid who just wanders amongst the Waffle Houses around the interstate system. But, in the main, we all have a duty. We owe to ourselves, as human beings, and to our society, our community, however you subdivide that, to be there for younger people, older too I suppose, to lend a hand where none is apparent. You have been there, I have been there; somebody offered a hand, a smile, a thought, that helped you and boosted you from someplace else. Just think about that. Give the greatest gift you possess, your time. BE THERE….