There's Too Many of Them to be Wrong
On my sixth birthday I had a party. All my friends came over and brought me little toy racing cars. I wasn't overly thrilled, but everyone else thought they were great, so I did too. After all, everyone else can't be wrong. There's too many of them.
Fast forward nearly a decade and a half to high school graduation. Thirteen years of school finally over. Three hundred of us dressed in our red hats and red robes like kings and queens having conquered and mastered thirteen years of knowledge. One by one we proud scholars march up to the stage to receive our diplomas as well as teh adolations of the thousands who turned out to honor and praise our great achievement on our special day.Standing before the applause I realize how special, how successful I am; I am a high school graduate. I have joined an elite and exclusive group of no more than 100 million others in the whole country. Mother has a right to be proud. I look at my fellow graduates. Though we all got the same diploma, the same reward, I can't help but wonder if maybe, by some some chance, some of us didn't work a little harder for that diploma than other. But that's ridiculous. An educational institution wouldn't bestow such a prestigious honor unless it was truly earned (and the graduation fee was paid; can't forget that graduation fee.)
Fast forward again, this time only a week. My future looms before me. What should I do? Then I smack myself and say, "Self, go to college. Everyone else is so it must be the right thing to do. All those people couldn't be wrong; there's too many of them."
But what should I study? What will lead me to success? For that matter, what is success? "That's easy," I tell myself. Just ask everyone else. Truth by majority. It won't let me down. The wisdom of many is always right. It has to be. Knowledge is cummulative, right? After all, a university of students can't be wrong. Every co-ed is a scholar—isn't that like a law or something?
Here is the kernal or knowlege, the morsel of wisdom my fellow scholars, my brilliant collegues, my learned comrades have to offer me: Success is earning a college degree by whatever means is neccessary, graduating with honors, getting a double major, completing three minors, becoming a doctor, earning more than your friends, buying a bigger house than your neighbors, driving a faster cart than your co-workers, and dressing better than those around you. I have a lot of work to do. I'd better make a list.
Item 1) Become a doctor. Simple enough. Jump through hoops until you're 35.
Item 2) Buy a big house. The more rooms the better. I don't even have to know what they're all for.
Item 3) Buy a fleet of expensive cars. Drive each at least once. The more the cars cost, the more successful I am. This is where that big house is handy: lot's of storage room.
Item 4) By an expensive watch, preferably Rolex. Nothing says I'm better than you like a Rolex.
Item 5) By shirts that cost more than K-Mart's stock of clothing. If ya wanna be successful, ya gots ta dress the part.
Item 6) Get a set of expensive golf clubs and ugly clothes to match. But should I learn to play golf first, or does it come naturally if your golf clubs are fancy enough?
Item 7) Get a pool, even if you don't like to swim. Successful people have pools–one indoor and one outdoor. Everyone knows that. Just ask them.
Item 8) Buy the top of the line skies and matching outfit. Then go get your picture taken next to famous people in Aspen. Everyone knows fame rubs off. It really does.
Item 9) Private Jet and Pilot. It's cool to fly your own jet; it's cooler to be flown in your own jet. Yeah baby.
Well, I've got everything I need written down my list: wealth, material possessions, and fame by association. I'm sure happiness and self-fulfillment are thrown in for free. They have to be. Everybody's becoming a doctor, getting rich, and loving life. They have to be. Everyone says it's the way to go, and they couldn't be wrong. There's too many of them.
©2003 Jeff Thomason