One of my friends announced that she was quitting yet another job since she wasn’t “putting her Ivy degree to good use.”
Well, this certainly got me to thinking. I have two such degrees. Since I haven’t yet managed to get either of those damn diplomas to cook me dinner, clean up my room or even hold my hand during a lousy movie, were they both lying on their dusty, cardboard-tube enshrined laurels and getting the better of me? Should I get a high-powered job, one necessitating Ally McBeal-like suits and Amanda-from-Melrose-Place’s calculatedness?
(Although really, if we’re going with what should be done, my clumsy attack-prone self should probably just lie very still in a dark room, since the termination of my being renders essentially $150,000+ of tuition as food for the worms.)
The thing is, I’ve learned that most things we do based on “should” and not “want” come to no good end — evidenced by, for example, some of my attempts at dancing when Beyonce is not currently moving my soul or my feet.
I have a bachelor’s in sociology and a master’s degree in history, which leaves a lot of leeway for interpretation of success: All I really have to do is study people and study history. Luckily, since I’m a person and history is being made each minute, this means that I could stare at myself in the mirror for 60 seconds and have both requirements fulfilled. Or I could be a teacher. Since the former option doesn’t necessarily pay the bills, I figured that I should take the latter route.
Every morning, I initially boycott the junior high building where I work — adolescent shrieks are too much before 9 a.m. — and stroll into the kindergarten section. Yes, I like little people in general, but what I really like specifically are the morning cookies they have for breakfast. (I love any country where iced croissants masquerade as a well-balanced meal.)
I’m a lot faster than most 5-year-olds, so I normally snag a “breakfast” for myself. But my satisfaction comes at a price: in order to avoid pissing the mini people off, I must chat with them, while extricating my legs from sticky hands. (How does someone so small get so sticky so early in the morning? Actually, I probably don’t want to know.)
I’ve come to know one little boy quite well, LeoLuca. I probably would have loved him just for his name, if not for the fact that he likes to have serious conversations with me, all surrounding what he wants to be when he grows up. Each day it’s different — yes, I see him every morning as my gluttony knows no bounds–but the daily run-through is always fascinating: “I want to be a policeman, astronaut, basketball player, race-car driver, baby doctor, puppy doctor, and a lion tamer. And I want to marry my mommy. And sometimes I just want to sit and drink my milk.” By this time, he’s run out of steam and I’ve finished my breakfast, so we solemnly conclude our discussion and our respective sticky days begin.
I was staring at myself in the mirror one night (once again, putting my two degrees to good use, while also getting the benefits of teeth brushing) and I wondered who was going to eventually fill in little LeoLuca about the impracticality of race-car driving, the ridiculous expense of simultaneous medical and vet school, the slim chances of a professional ball career, the dangers of lion taming (exhibit A: Sigfried and Roy), and the extreme illegality of marrying his mommy. Then my eyes fell on my bidet.
Now, having a bidet in the bathroom is just one of the facts of living in certain parts of Europe. I don’t shun it nor do I embrace it. I have a vague idea of what it is supposed to be used for, but it pretty much just took up space that could be better used for, say, my ever-growing shoe collection. That is, until I decided to be creative and came up with a list of extracurricular bidet uses:
-Zen sand garden
-making mixed drinks
-soaking my head
-grotto shrine to the Baby Jesus, Hindu god, or other deity
-one basket basketball
While I refuse to divulge which services it has served, the choices are innumerous. Why should my bidet be just one thing when it can be many? Therefore, why should LeoLuca? I should encourage him to try out everything, as — evidenced by my bidet — apparently our options are only limited by our imaginations. And if he decides to become a lawyer or a race car driver or simply stay put and drink his milk, who cares? (And wouldn’t we be a lot better off if some politicians also did nothing but drink their milk?)
So let my friend have her fancy lunches and car service rides. My bidet — and life experience — has taught me to just listen to LeoLuca during our breakfast power meetings and help him make a happy history for himself. I deal with people. I help them make history. What better way to utilize my degrees?
Kristen Chartier would like it to be known that if LeoLuca is allowed to marry his mommy, then she is allowed to marry her daddy.