March 29, 2011 by David Gillaspie
Mom To Mom Schooling
A sauna is no place to parse words. Not when it’s 180 in the shade.
In this oven, there’s only one answer.
“Do you talk to your kid about education?” a regular asks one of the ladies.
“Of course I do. I work a sixty-five hour week. I haven’t been able to do much else, but I do talk to my kid. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t?”
Outside the sauna window a pool of wild people follow a water aerobics wizard moving to a screaming Surf City, USA.
“I’ve always liked that song. I heard it when it was new. It sounded like an oldie then.”
“On a scale of one to ten how much do you talk to your kid about college?”
“As much as normal for his age group. He’s won’t be there for quite a few years and we’ll figure it out then.”
“Wrong answer,” comes a voice from the other side.
“Ten is the answer.”
“He knows there’s something called college. It’s a start.”
“Do you know where you want him to go?”
A fat man from the steam room opens the door and looks in.
”Keep the door closed, please.”
He shuts it and joins the aerobics class without showering the sweat off.
“Okay, my kid will live at home and go to junior college. That’s what it looks like now.”
“Wish I’d done that.”
“All I’ll say is, you never know. A kid will do things you never expected. Keep a door open and they’ll walk through it, or at least look in like the guy who violated the shower law.”
“Thanks, Tiger Dad. And yes, I know to keep the doors open for my kid. You guys know it helps hearing how you did it.”
“Did it? I’ve got a four year old. I’m still doing it.”
“On a scale of one to ten, how much do you push education?”
“I’m not sure, but it’s too much. I want my son to come home from college this summer, right? And he wants to reconnect with everyone, okay? But he’s got a chance to do something special, and he knows it. So I told him not to come home, don’t come home. Now I won’t see him until November. Do you know how hard that is? I had to do it. It’s off the scale, but that’s where you go with your kid.”
“How about you, Tiger Dad? What’s your number?”
“It’s always ten if you keep it moving. What is education, really? It’s about lifestyle. Old lifestyles are history. Number lifestyles are science. For example, are there more baristas with a masters in English or Engineering? So I push the connection between the two, lifestyle and education.”
“Makes no sense.”
“Nice. If Einstein is out of context, he’s a goofy old man who can’t tie his shoes instead of the pride of Princeton. With the wrong audience, Ken Burns is a man with some nice archival footage instead of a visionary showing knew ways to understand our past. Aim a kid that direction and he’ll know you cared.”
“Do it just to show him I care?”
“Show him you care enough to take it to the limit.”
“(singing) All alone, at the end of the evening, all the bright lights have faded to blue.”
Take It Easy blares from the boom-box and the pool goes wild.
“The Monkees can’t do that.”