Listen to your ol’ dad

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my daughter Catie’s impending graduation from college. It inspired meditation about what she actually did with her nine semesters in Boulder, and I have to report I’m not all that impressed.

I mean, a degree with a humanities major and a French minor is all well and swell, I suppose … if it was 1983. But I’m not so sure that such classic liberal arts certificates are all that viable or pertinent here in the 21st century. Her degree seems a tad bit effete, elitist and useless in the scheme of what’s going on right now. I wonder what she’ll say in her defense when I express these very thoughts in the near future (delicately, of course).

I’m not one of these parents who is consumed with living my life vicariously through the actions of my offspring. Far from it. Hell, I’m pretty busy living my life vicariously through myself. So I never really pushed her to reconsider the direction of her major and minor. I just figured that she should do what she wanted in the hopes that she would stumble across something that would ignite some great passion within her, a passion that would be the guiding light of her adult life. I don’t think that’s happened yet.

But in the end, as she approaches the diploma, there’s this nagging feeling, at least for me, that her degree is an intellectual jag-off of a fairly high order. Many of her humanities requirements were fulfilled by classes along the lines of “Modern Corporate Imperialism in Sub-Saharan Africa.” OK, fine, but also BFD. Now, if such a class helps her get some kind of smokin’ job at some liberal think tank in Delaware, dandy, but in the meantime, I’m feeling curmudgeonly cynical about the real worth of all this stuff in the overall scheme of her ability to get on with being an adult. Trans- lation: Yes, of course I’m petrified at the prospect of her living in my garage until she’s 34.

There was only one time when I really put some serious heat on her, when I “Dadded up” on her to take a certain class. That class was typing. “How can you function in this day and age without knowing how to type,” I would pleadingly screech. “Even the goddamn cell phone has a qwerty keyboard!” “Oh, Dad,” she’d yawn, “I get along fine with my style.” Meaning, “I’m good with my well-practiced but totally yo-yo version of hunt ‘n’ peck.” No matter how often I told her that her hunting and pecking is to my typing what Cheetos are to fine dining, she would blow me off and take another class in “The European Legacy: Why White Folks Ultimately Suck.”

If she could do it all over again, and I could program her modern, more utilitarian path, I’d give her a major in gardening, emphasis on hydroponics. A minor in renewable energy manufacture and distribution. And one stinking typing class.