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19 April 2005

Spam University
filed: rambles
robotmeister this is public domain picture hope you like itHe wore a belted sweater that hung over his shoulders, his long fingers tapped the air like there were piano keys, and for some reason there was a bunch of glitter on his gray face. "Looks like you might have to take the introductory math class, but we'll see how your placement exam goes." This advisor was even more like Mr. Garrison on "South Park" than my 10th grade drama teacher, I even looked around for a puppet. He pried me for my SAT scores. After 17 years, I am lucky I remember where I put my keys on a daily basis. "Hmm, honestly I don't recall my math score." Somehow, all those years later I still manage to recall my mother putting me on the mailing list of the local junior college, Blanton's, to make her point about my shitty grades. She was good at making points, like hiding my clothes in her trunk when I didn't clean my room. Lost brain cells aside, I do remember the day of my SATs. My mulleted crush passed out in the hall from his pre-test bong hits, but yet scored a perfect 1500. That made me adore him more.

Between getting lost en route, a financial aid office manned by pamphlet wielding Mary Kay rejects (little did they know one of my past embarrassments was getting the police called on my ass when a certain branch of the University of North Carolina would not release my check because it was not Tuesday between 1:05 and 1:06pm..) Most importantly, finding out I was going have to meet my eternal nemesis MATH head-on made me nauseated and the thought of going back to school quickly lost its appeal. Driving back to my office, and getting lost once again, I decided that I would, if anything, go to the community college that was a county over, but ultimately closer to my home and work. I also decided that, hell, if I am going to be paying for it this time around, why not just look at some of the colleges that are available online.

Learning online is not entirely new to me. I took the first class that was offered online by the above mentioned community hellhole. It was during the days of dial-up. It was also during the last season of "Seinfeld." Just like I managed to sneak a magazine behind my notebook in high school, I managed to watch George and Jerry, and join my class in our weekly, and oh so revolutionary chat room. Initially, I was ahead of the game, I managed to toss in a few bon mots that got the ball rolling. Soon enough, I got busted. Not unlike like my teenage self finally hearing my name "Jessica, Jessica," across many a real time class room waking me up from my "Hit Parader." I withdrew and that last "Seinfeld" episode was really a disappointment.

Back at my office, I Googled away, trying my damnedest to avoid the schools that have made pop-up blockers a viable business. Once I found a few that had the degrees and programs that I was looking for, I whispered the names to myself in my cube. "If I saw St. Caspian Seasnake University of Omaha on a resume, would I want to hire this person?" Nope. "University of the Ultra Dynasty of Wales" Nope. Obviously I am full of shit, but I thought to myself, how would I explain to a potential employer that my degree was from Oregon, but I've never been there .I am certain if I went that far west I would get beat up by some overzealous DIY Suicide Girl for using commercial feminine hygiene products.

Accreditation. If I am going to get that lousy piece of paper so I don't have to be a glorified secretary for the rest of my life, I want to make sure that my degree is actually bonafide. Sheepskin. A real diploma. I'd hang it in front of my toilet so everyone who came to my house would have no choice but to look at it. Well, maybe I'd make a copy to hang behind it for the fellas. One of the ladies at the nail salon I frequent is a college student--at a mail order bible college in California. Poor thing has to inhale toxic fumes all day in the name of me looking trashy, I really didn't want to burst her bubble. "So you are going to be a professional Bible Banger?" (Note to self: If I ever find out that a co-worker gets a promotion and they graduated from an unaccredited college kick them.). In fact I almost hoped off an exam table when I saw my new General Practitioner got his pre-Med degree from "Bob Jones University." I was scared I'd go in for a sore throat and end up getting my foot amputated. Having a doctor who has a questionable degree does have its benefits. Figuring that he's never had an illicit buzz before, I got him to increase the dosage of a certain popular anti-anxiety drug (that you can get from Canada!) without a wink.

I do know a few people who attend the colleges that flood my junk mail folder. One woman I know is getting ready to graduate with an accounting degree, and has already had a nice job promotion. She has done this all while dealing with two kids, two mergers, an ugly mafiaesque divorce, and a fiancÚ' in Iraq. Not too shabby. I have seen her text books, and class syllabus. Her school stressors are no different from the stressors that land based students have. She has deadlines, exams, and big annoying projects. They take your money, but that does not ensure you can pass. Well, I take that back, my boyfriend just informed me otherwise. Perhaps I will get write my thesis on "The Male Mind, Why It Is Always Right. Always."

Of this moment, I am not too sure where I will next crack open my fresh composition book, its going to depend a lot on the almighty bank gods and the calloused palm of the government. Chances are I will have to take on that bitch Math wherever I go. I did find one school that will give me a degree without having to know my multiplication tables. Does anyone know if the University of Switzerland-Minneapolis is accredited?

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