I know you're probably going to find this hard to believe, especially those of you who write in every week seeking my advice on life's really tough problems (Note to Marvin in Mobile: Yes, no, ask your doctor, I think that's illegal in ALL 50 states, and no, not with a ten-foot pole), but I, Tim Knox, never went to college. To those of you who write in every week complaining that my frequent use of words like "y'all, yonder and ain't," is an affront to the English language and that I give southerners everywhere a bad name, I'm sure this comes as no surprise (Note to Doug in Dothan: You, sir, may still kiss my grits, college educated or not).
When I graduated from high school in 1978, college was the furthest thing from my mind. I had just been released from thirteen long years of educational purgatory and I was in no hurry to jump back into the fire. At eighteen, my priorities were as follows: do as little work as possible during the day, get as sloppy drunk as possible every night, and meet as many really cool chicks as possible along the way. My high school guidance counselor never bothered to tell me that the best place to do all of these things was at college. Instead, he just sort of chuckled at my grades and asked if I had considered a career in welding.
Besides, no one in my family had ever gone to college, so who was I to buck tradition? College, my old man was quick to point out, was for rich kids in trouble with the law and stupid people who didn't have the smarts to make it on their own. Grand words of wisdom from a man who dropped out of school in the third grade to become a dirt farmer. I should have introduced him to my high school guidance counselor. Since they were the founding members of the "Let's Screw Up Tim Knox's Life With Lousy Advice" Club, I'm sure they would have gotten along famously.
A year or two out of high school I found myself hungover, broke and unemployed. That's the only time I seriously thought about going to college (it seemed an easier prospect than having to sober up and find a real job). I stopped by the local university and met with a student advisor (think guidance counselor with zits). I was thinking about getting an English degree so I could teach small school children the proper use of words like "y'all, yonder and ain't." When I told the student advisor this, he just sort of chuckled at my aspirations and asked if I had considered a career in welding.
"Thanks, zitface," I felt like saying. "Here's your membership card. Welcome to the club. Help yourself to punch and cookies. Come on, I'll introduce you to my old man."
About the only thing I learned from that visit was that going to college required a lot of money, something I didn't have. And this particular school's motto was: "Coffum opus dia doe or scatum dia hades offum dia campii!" English translation: "If you can't pay the tuition get the hell off this campus!"
I couldn't, so I did. And now you know why I never went to college.
At least I didn't waste eight years of my life getting a degree I never used. The guy who mows my lawn has a PhD in psychology. I guess he uses that $100,000 worth of advanced schooling to make sure my grass is "okay" with being cut.
Then there are those folks who collect college degrees like my sister collects Beanie Babies. I have a friend who has a Masters in electrical engineering, a Bachelors in computer science, and a Doctorate in mathematics. You know what he does for a living? Nothing, he's too busy going to school.
I don't feel so bad about ditching college when I hear of some of the things that are going on in our institutions of higher learning these days. Take the case of the Penn State professor who is trying to teach pigs how to communicate using a computer. That's right, f-f-f-olks, I said pigs. And I'm not talking about ugly coeds, either.
Professor Stanley Curtis (a former student advisor, I'm sure) believes that pigs, like apes and some people from Michigan, can be taught to communicate with humans by using a form of computer sign language. Curtis, with all his college-tainted wisdom, thinks that pigs are much smarter than people think. I think Professor Curtis is one pork rind short of a full bag. Who wants to get email from a pig?
Here's how the good professor summed it up to The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Pigs always have their eyes open for their next mouthful, so they are always surveying the environment. They are very alert, and if they see some food at a certain place, they have to figure out how to get to it."
Is he talking about pigs or his fraternity brothers?
Curtis continued, "They (pigs) solve problems every day and they have the ability to discriminate, so it should come as no surprise that their intelligence is high."
Solving problems, the ability to discriminate, high intelligence... hmm, I guess he is talking about pigs.
Curtis' goal is to provide the best possible environment for pigs and other farm animals. If these pigs could communicate that they're uncomfortable, unhappy, or hungry, he says, the farmer could then do whatever was necessary to make the pig's life a little easier. This is where I get confused. What farmer in his right mind would want a bunch of whiny pigs running around the barnyard stirring up trouble? And what farmer would go to the trouble of making a pig's life easier when he knows that said pig is going to be on the next train to Baconville? This is like giving death row inmates Dr. Sholes pads to put in their shoes so their feet don't hurt while they're walking to the gas chamber.
You don't need a college degree to figure out that this is the dumbest idea since the invention of low fat bologna. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be able to communicate with pigs. I'm not a heartless person. I don't want to think that the pig that gave its life for my morning bacon spent its last moments sitting at a computer terminal frantically typing out, "PLEASE DON'T KILL AND EAT ME!! I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! PLEASE!!"
Let's put the professor's computer sign language to work with animals we don't eat. I'd love for my dog to be able to tell me what the hell he's barking at at three in the morning. And I'd really like to know what my cat has to be so uppity about.
Besides, what could a pig really have to say that's worth hearing? Unless it's, "Hey buddy, have you considered a career in welding?"
Th-th-th-th-at's all, folks.
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Tim Knox, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Radio Host
Founder, The Insiders Club, Giving You The Power To Start Your Business Today
Bestselling Author of: "Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama"
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