What do you think it means to be “educated”? How would you visualize an “educated” individual? Over the years I have pondered these questions, and although I have my own answer for them, I want to first talk about how I think the majority of society feels about it. Let’s begin with common sense. Now even though this phrase has the word “common” init, it is unfortunately not very common in today’s society to have it. The first and only time that I went to a gun range my uncle told me a story about a doctor that had visited the range and was having issues shooting his pistol. For some reason the pistol would not fire, and what does this highly educated person do to fix the issue? He kneels down and starts banging the gun as hard as he could on the cement ground. Yes, the gun fired off. No, no one was hurt. I don’t believe that there is any need for me to analyze this situation, yes?
Another story that I want to share goes way back when I worked at a retail pharmacy. I was talking to my manager while another associate was ringing out the customers. Like most retail stores, associates are to call for backup if there are more than three customers in line. So as I’m talking to my manager, I’m keeping an eye on my co-worker’s line. So, as I’m talking to her I head a man mumble “get the f- off the phone” and then I head “what did you say?.” I turned and in my co-worker’s line were two men. One man in a business suit was on his phone, and another in dirty jeans, a t-shirt and old work boots (let’s call him the construction worker). It was after five in the afternoon, so I obviously assumed that both just off of work. “Get off the phone when you’re at the register” said the construction worker to the business man. Now of course the business man got hostile because 1) he was being called out in public (therefore, his manhood was being challenged) 2) This is just me, but I felt like he was also embarrassed because he knew that he was in the wrong and 3) He was being called out by someone that most of society deems “lower” than him (not to mention that the construction worker was also much shorter). So then the business man physically threatened the construction worker and so the construction worker invited him to step outside. As this is going on the store is of course quiet as everyone watches the spectacle. As for me, I felt a mix of emotions. I felt pride and respect for the construction worker. I also felt some fear because looking at my manager, my co-worker and at myself, if these men were to fight right in front of us, I would have been the one to break it up. So I was seriously standing there trying to get pumped up, and was thinking of something to calm them down like ” C’mon gentlemen. You’re talking about respect, and you’re about fight in front of a bunch of women?” But I thought that saying that would give them a definite reason to take it to the parking lot. What’s interesting about this scenario is that with all this going on, the business man was still trying to hold his conversation on the phone.
The common sense in this situation pertains to respect. When checking out in a retail store you’re interacting with someone, and the person is hopefully interacting with you. The job is not that great, but it’s a job nonetheless, and that person at least deserves your attention, a “hello” and a look in eye. If not for them, this is respect and honor for yourself. We are no better than those around us no matter what they do for a living.
Going back to doctors, I’m sure many of you have noticed drug commercials that talk about side effects that are almost longer than the pitch for the drug itself. Why? Why would someone take a drug that would probably give them more problems than what they started out with (which would then probably lead the patient to taking more drugs to fix those issues)? Is that drug worth it if your eyes or skin turned yellow? Really? All because a doctor tells you that you should take it? Since when is a doctor’s word absolute truth and the best judgment? Since when did we stop thinking for ourselves and stop using our God-given brains and common sense? We are smarter than we believe ourselves to be. Please note: I’m not saying that it’s foolish to take prescriptions, and i’m not bashing anyone that does. What I am saying: It’s okay to question. It’s okay to think.
I will talk about what it means to be educated frequently so this will not be my last post on it. But before I leave you for today, I have one more story to share. This story also took place in college. I was taking an English course on plays and stories from the Renaissance era, and one day the class was having a discussion about what the peasants of England thought of a certain play that we were reading at the time. The class was silent when the question was asked, then after a minute a young woman to my left said “well, I think that those who aren’t educated wouldn’t have anything important to say anyway.” Pause. Okay, you know when someone says something so stupid that you can’t even comprehend it? In your mind you’re questioning if you really heard what you think you heard. Now, for me I initially did not comprehend what she said because I foolishly thought that there was no way that a college-educated person such as herself would say something so stupid, so ignorant. The professor understood her comment perfectly and said “whoa, does anyone have something to say to that? That is a pretty bold statement.” I didn’t raise my hand because I was thinking “what? She didn’t say anything wrong. There’s no way she said what I thought she said.” If I had initially understood this girl’s statement there is nothing that would have stopped me from jumping at her throat (through my words of course). Now, no one responded to the professor’s request so she spoke herself, and it was only then that the stupidity of the girl’s statement was confirmed. In a nutshell the professor said that she knows many people who are not educated by society’s standards that are much smarter than most without a degree. Yes, I could not agree more. It is my friends and those closet to me that have shown me the most how meaningless a piece of paper can be, because they are the smartest, kindness and most honorable people I have ever known. And if that piece of paper was so important, why are graduates having a difficult time finding work (that discussion will be continued another time)?
I know that many of you out there can relate to today’s post. I write for you. For those of you that may not agree with me, I write for you as well, and I hope that I have shed light on a different perspective of life and education. Thanks for reading.
Peace and Love