It's that time of year again. The kids are back in school. I feel for them, I really do.
When I was a little a kid in grammar school, I looked at all the years of mandatory schooling ahead of me and despaired. Little kids shouldn't have that level of discouragement. Eventually the years went by and I got out of prison. That's how I looked at it.
After high school, I made a mistake. Everyone told me I couldn't get ahead in life without a college education. Couldn't face 4 more years of school, so a 2 year degree seemed doable. Back in the late 70s, there was still this idea going around that a person could go to college and pay his way by working. They don't even talk about that anymore. One semester was all I could handle before I'd end up in debt, which is something I really wanted to avoid. Dropping out proved to the best the answer.
Best decision of my life. I was broke, had no prospects, but for the first time in my life, I was free. It felt wonderful.
It drove me nuts when adults would say their school days were the best days of their life. For me, it was like telling a prisoner that once he did his time, he'd be transferred to a worse prison. If it wasn't for vacations, I don't know how I would have survived.
Getting married. Raising kids. Working jobs. Buying property. All that stuff was so much better than going to school. I could do what I wanted to do, read books I wanted to read, do my own experiments, hunt, fish, hike, travel -it was and is great.
School is where we are supposed to learn reading, writing, mathematics, history, and all the other stuff they want crammed in our heads. It's the "all the other stuff," that bothers me. We were taught to follow orders, obey the rules, please our jailers, and even respond to bells like Pavlov's dogs. Good training for life in factories, cubicles, and in a Fascist state.
The sad thing is that school couldn't even teach me how to read. My mother noticed I couldn't read as well as the rest of my class. One summer, teaching me mornings, I went from reading below my class to several years above it. The city should have refunded her school tax money that year. She did the job they were unable to.
As a kid, I rebelled in school. Not enough to get into too much trouble, but enough to stay sane. Was always looking for loopholes around the rules. My grades were petty good, but that's because they actually made kids repeat years. The thought of an extra year of prison was a strong negative motivator.
I must admit, my own kids went to public school. My lovely wife made shut up about my "prison days." She didn't want the kids to have a negative attitude. They all got through it, and did it better than I.
Used to hate the month of September. Now, I love it. It's a wonderful time of the year. Too bad those kids in prison can't enjoy it.
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