back to school (the imaginary kind)

james meredith memorial

This is an old article from brip blap – almost four years ago – so in case you missed it the first time, here it is again…

I have given some thought over the years to going back to school. Ah, to be back in the fraternity, drinking Schlitz, playing lacrosse and sleeping from 4 am to 2 pm. Oh, you thought I meant for the classes and the knowledge? Are you kidding me?

[In 2007] I was invited to participate in a meme: to devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. I was supposed to pick one of the courses that the person who ‘tagged’ me for the meme chose, as well, so that we can skip classes and copy each other’s notes. Just for the sake of being different I’ll attend 7 (imaginary) courses.


  1. Art of Persuasion 101 is the class I’d like to share with her [Melissa, who originally tagged me]. Why? Who doesn’t need this skill? Is there any way that’s NOT a useful skill to have? I can think of a million ways that could be useful, but in particular being able to persuade my son to eat his breakfast would be a HUGE benefit!
  2. Car Maintenance for Your Post-2000 Car 101: When I was younger, I managed to do a lot of car maintenance on my 1976 Mercury Comet without too much trouble. Nowadays I open up the hood and don’t see much that I can distinguish from the guts of my Toshiba computer. I’m nervous just adding wiper fluid. Hopefully this imaginary life-fixing college would have an imaginary community college campus where I could take a class like this one.
  3. Simplification 101: As much as I do try to simplify, there is always something new to complicate my life. I’d like to have a magic bullet – as much as I know there isn’t one – so why not take a course like this?
  4. Yoga 102: I have been to a yoga course, and I liked it. I like the idea, I like the fact that many pro athletes rely on it for conditioning, and I like the promised stress relieving benefits. Yet… I never do it. I need a class to convince me once and for all that I need to engage myself fully in yoga.
  5. Real Estate Appraisal/Inspection 101: OK, the real estate bubble burst. OK, this isn’t your typical college course. However, I can’t imagine any way, shape or form it wouldn’t be handy to have a good understanding of how to appraise and inspect and evaluate real estate. Even if you never invest in real estate, being able to help family and friends or even look at your own home would be a hugely useful skill.
  6. Environmental Studies 202: I’ve read a lot about the environment. One book in particular shook me terribly, but I sometimes feel that I could use a twofold course about the environment: 1, the detailed science around global warming, 2, a detailed examination of the environmental threats faced by urban dwellers and 3, how to protect your home. Fortunately most of this information is available through blogs and websites so I’ve got a lot of resources to fall back on.
  7. Getting Off the Grid 101: I get really worried sometimes that I’m “out there” too much…hence the semi-anonymous blogging. There may be too many people with too much information about me. I think a thorough course in how to “disappear” myself as much as possible would probably be handy later on in life. I may actually soon de-anonymize (is that a word) brip blap [ed. note: since 2007 I have…], so I probably have to be careful about this…

I suspect as I look at that list I may have been too narrow minded – these are hardly grand themes to fix my life, just tweaks. I just thought that something like “Perfect Retirement Planning” wouldn’t be as interesting to read. In any case, these courses would fix parts of my life.

And one more course for nothing more than my own enjoyment, Astronomy 103b “Just the Cool Stuff.” I love astronomy – discovering planets, dark matter, Voyager and Pioneer trivia, quasars, and on and on. I am really, really fascinated by the Pillars of Creation. Oddly enough, I never took a course in astronomy while at college and have never done more than show a layman’s fascination. I think in an alternate lifetime I was an astronomer, though, because I could read about this stuff for days. Nothing close to earth like the space shuttle or the space station, but the crazy far-off stuff just fascinates me. It won’t fix my life but it might make me happier… so that might be a fix, anyway.

Tags. Hmm. I tagged a bunch of people recently so maybe I’ll stretch past my normal blogroll and tag-ees and go to some blogs I haven’t mentioned much (or at all) before, but that I do read: Variable Interest and One Money Dummy Getting Smarter. And as always, tag yourself if you feel so inclined!

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