Other than wasting an exorbitant amount of time getting drunk and high, I more or less did everything I was supposed to. I got good grades in high school, graduated early, traveled to Europe, and got into the best public University in my home state of Ohio, Miami University of Ohio. Being an angst ridden teenager, I hated it, did a lot of acid, and dropped out. OK, that part is pretty much the opposite of what you are supposed to do. But I got back on the horse! I got married, (like I said I was high) and moved to CALIFORNIA! It was a great start for any American success story!
I enrolled at Santa Barbara City College, got nearly strait A’s and got in to (*loud announcer voice*) The University of California Santa Barbara! There I got divorced, did more, worse drugs, met my wonderful current fiancé, quit doing drugs, (most of them anyway) and graduated with a degree in Cultural Anthropology! Success! The only problem was by the time I finished, I didn’t want to be an anthropologist, and by the time I realized I didn’t want to be an anthropologist, I had about $30,000 in loans and thought I might as well finish the degree. Sound familiar?
No worries! I had the degree and that’s what mattered!
That, obviously was dead wrong. And not un-like millions of others in my generation by the time I realized what happened, I had 10 years of cooking experience, four years of stand up comedy experience, a load of debt that I’m pretending doesn’t exist, and little else. I love to cook, but it’s poorly paying back-breaking work. I also love stand up comedy, but it isn’t what I would call my calling. If comedy isn’t your calling you won’t make money doing it. That would be like trying to make Major League Baseball for now, while you finish up your teaching credential.
I’ve been working in or out of school now for 13 years. My outlook has not been very positive. About three months ago I had had had had enough. (I recently learned you can keep stringing ‘had’s together and it is still grammatically correct. Four seems appropriate.) Having no children, I quit my job, figuring I’d eat eggs and pick up odd jobs as long as I could and spend some time and energy doing something other than working, comedy and drinking and then get another cooking job when I had to.
I did not expect what happened next. Basically I realized that there was no point in being angry about my situation. I realized if I wanted to break out of where I felt stuck I better make it happen. Now this is not some Ayn Randian bullshit about bootstraps. I am lucky enough to have ALREADY GOTTEN a degree, have no dependents, have access to the internet, have a great computer, have grown up computer literate, be intelligent, not be disabled, have a real passion for knowledge and not have any freakin’ tumors. I have had far more opportunities than most people and will have more. But looking back I really did get a lousy education. I was taught a completely USA-centric 20th century view of the world as we entered a global 21st century where one decade barely resembles the last. What a freakin’ rip off. Fortunately, one of the fast changing aspects of the 21st century is education, and while the academic blowhards are making themselves more irrelevant by the minute, the internet is doing their job better than they can, for FREE. I still don’t know what my calling is, if that’s a thing, and I probably will need to get another cooking job. But I do know I want to use my brain and my creativity for whatever I do. So I’ve decided, at age 29, now is the time to get a real, 21st century-relevant education using the internet and smart people I know. This blog is a journal of this journey. This is a blournaly. This is Alex White Learns an Education.