College

My father went to college in the 1960s. That was back when college degrees were valuable, and very few people had them. My father got his degree and went back to his hometown–and they were so impressed with him, that they immediately made him their new mayor. Which is interesting, considering how my father majored in physical education. As the mayor of his hometown, all he did was make people get physical. His chief of staff said, “Uh. Mayor Ohebsion. What should we do about the budget?” And then my dad told him, “We should run 25 laps, and then wrestle each other for an hour.” “And what about the renovation of City Hall?” “200 push ups, 300 jumping jacks.”

So like I was saying, my father got a good job because of his college degree. And the way–here’s how much he paid for tuition: $83.15 per semester. I know. He showed me the receipt. $83.15. Imagine paying for college with the cash in your wallet. You could do that in the 60s. It was a casual transaction. Like going to 7-11 and saying, “Let me get a hot dog, and a pack of Marlboros, and a college tuition, and a cherry Slurpee. Here’s $100. Keep the change.” But over time, a college education has gotten more expensive, and less valuable. My friend’s brother graduated from college a few years ago. It cost him $387,000 to get a Master’s degree. And nowadays, he works at 7-11. People say things to him like, “You have a Master’s degree in nuclear physics? Interesting. Anyways, like I was saying before you interrupted me, let me get a pack of Camels, and a Slurpee.”

I read somewhere that in 2007, Bill Gates delivered the commencement address at Harvard University. Which is kind of weird, considering how Bill Gates dropped out of that colege in 1975. So what exactly did he say in 2007, to the thousands of new Harvard graduates in attendance? “Uh. Hey guys. I’m Bill Gates. I’m very impressed with those robes and tassels you’re wearing. I’m a college dropout. I didn’t earn a robe and tassel. I don’t have those things. All I have is a measly $83 billion. I really admire you guys. By the way–if any of you need a job, I’m willing to hire you for $12 an hour.”

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