LVI – I Wish I’d Known Back Then…

We all went to school when we were younger. Whether or not we graduated or dropped out is irrelevant. The fact is that we all went at one point or another. We learned a lot of things in school. Beginning with the alphabet, how to read and write in our native language (or even other languages), we learned about math, science, history, among a myriad of subjects.

With everything we learn in roughly 12 years of school, some things were useful, others downright useless. And then there’s the things that were never taught! Reading, writing, counting and basic math are all important in our daily lives; after all, if you were illiterate, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy my writing! Without math you couldn’t do a lot of things. Seriously, though, when are most people ever going to use the Quadratic Formula? You know, x=(-b±√(b2-4ac))/2a. Can anyone tell me what in the hell the purpose of that equation ever was? For the life of me, I have no clue. Maybe I’ll look it up sometime when I’m absolutely bored and the TV is out. I personally have never used it once in my life post-high school. And then there’s the Pythagorean Theorem (you remember, the one about triangles, a2+b2=c2). Never used it. Maybe if I needed to measure a television.

Of course, finding the center of a board by measuring diagonals, that’s useful for construction. Some physics was useful, and chemistry was fun (until you accidentally splashed a little H2SO4 on yourself or your friends). Without chemistry, we’d have to use the long name for stuff like CO2, the O2 sensor in a car, or drink a little H2O.

I remember a time when important things were taught in school, such as the Constitution and what our rights are. We learned some of the impartial facts of history, not this bogus bullshit some are being indoctrinated with now. After all, why teach what the Bill of Rights are? Why teach what rights everyone has under the 27 various Amendments (okay, the Eighteenth Amendment about Prohibition was repealed)? That way, people don’t know what they’re losing as the ever-more-corrupt US Government slowly strips away our rights.

Whatever happened to straightforward math? When did this Common Core bullshit infiltrate the educational system? Can anyone explain what the fuck is “subtraction by adding” or “learning across the curriculum” means? Hell, I use this as a joke, but it sounds like something straight out of Common Core: If you have 4 pencils and 7 apples, how many pancakes fit on the roof? Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.

Can anyone please tell me why schools don’t teach important subjects that actually pertain to adult life skills? Kids aren’t taught to cook anymore. It seems young people don’t want to be bothered to put together a delicious meal and clean up after themselves. It’s so much easier to go buy something. I don’t care if you’re vegan or keto or whatever nutrition fad you’re following. Everyone should know how to cook an egg, boil some spaghetti or some other simple dish.

Along with what used to be called “home-ec”, why not teach kids how to sew a button (I still can’t do that)? Why not teach basic first aid? Schools are so afraid of the plethora of frivolous lawsuits that come about anymore…

Let’s teach kids how to fill out a job application. Teach them to balance their bank accounts. I can’t even say “balance a checkbook” since no one writes checks anymore. At least, most places don’t even accept them anymore. How about teaching kids about saving money, how to pay bills, how to fill out their tax returns? I think kids should be taught about credit cards (how they’re useful, but you actually gotta pay the bills), as well as what credit scores mean.

I remember there used to be shop classes, where kids actually built something. Sure, they were simple. But it taught basic construction and workplace safety principles. My sons made some things in shop classes. One such thing was a butcher block cutting board. It’s come in handy on occasion, I just feel bad using it! My middle son made a baseball bat. Hell, why is there so much attention on going to college, when in 2018, it was estimated that student loans amounted to over $1.5 TRILLION. That’s this horrendous number: $1,500,000,000,000 (yeah, eleven zeros, thirteen digits, roughly 1/15 of the current national debt). It isn’t taught when these loans are taken out, but you can’t dodge them even in bankruptcy—you’re stuck with it forever. And god help them if you have a cosigner, as they’re on the hook if you default. Just like the IRS, student loan debt is a permanent monkey on your back.

Anyway, back to the useless college degree. There are people with Master’s Degrees and Doctorates that can’t get jobs, or are homeless. Believe it or not, there are jobs requiring a Master’s that start at $16.00/hr. Rather absurd, if you ask me. So, why bother with the college, if there are many, many trade jobs that can’t be filled, because people are unskilled? Instead of wasting time and money in college, some kids could go into a trade school, learn a vocation, and make some damn good money. And it doesn’t require thousands of dollars in loans. How is that embarrassing? No prestige (“oh, my son went to an Ivy League School”—big fucking deal). It’s like saying working as a cashier or a cook is “beneath someone”. Well, let me say this, jackass: if it’s a job, and it pays your bills, it ain’t fucking embarrassing. There’s a lot of people with office jobs that are out flipping burgers or delivering pizza. If you’re embarrassed to be a gas station cashier or whatever, then maybe you’d better go work elsewhere. Oh, and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out. I’m sure there’s several waiting in line who’d gladly take your place. As for me, personally, I’m not embarrassed to say I work for Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral. Gotta pay my bills somehow. I can’t do like some people, sitting on my ass at home, with my hand stretched out, waiting for my monthly handout. I’m not lazy—I currently work in excess of 60 hours a week.

Now before you start screaming at me, I understand that there are honest people out there who get food stamps, WIC or other assistance. Some have jobs, others have experienced tragedy or bad circumstances. Each case is different. I get that. There are single parents who need the help. I have no problem with those who are really trying, but can’t quite make it, so they get some help. Some people have disabilities and can’t work. I feel for them and believe they should get their benefits. The ones I have an issue with are the ones who absolutely refuse to work, because they’re making more on their asses at home, 120% dependent on the government, taking every penny of welfare they can squeeze. Having a brood of babies, so they can get ever more money, and not have to lift a finger or break a sweat. Unless you really are disabled, there should be a work requirement to get food stamps, etc. If you’re physically and mentally capable to work, you should be required to have a job and work, at least part time, to get assistance. At least be actively looking for a job.

In closing, let me say that if somehow, feds got out of the school system, things would probably run better. The federal government is only good, for the most part, at fucking things up. They’re not there to micromanage our lives. The federal government is only empowered to do what’s in the Constitution. Everything else is left to the states (go read the Tenth Amendment).

Thank you for reading my words this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and much as I have writing it. Hopefully your week ahead is a good one. May you be at peace and have prosperity, and may you be safe and be well.

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