Monday, July 27, 2009

Moo Cow

"Are those cows?" asked R.'s son pointing to a group of animals on the far side of the field we were passing.

"Cows say 'moo'," I told him. "Those are horses. Horsies say 'neigh.'"

"I'm not stupid," he said.

"Of course you're not, buddy," said his father in a soothing tone.

"Shut up," he muttered, slinking down next to my oldest in the backseat.

We were on the first leg of college visits for my oldest. R. and I have been best friends since seventh grade. His three boys are about the same ages as mine and we've traveled plenty together. Sometimes our wives come too, on the longer trips, but lots of times it's been the boys and R. and me, to cabins and parks and lodges and resorts.

As the boys have grown, though, it's gotten harder. Sports are more demanding, school friends are more important, and life just got busy. R. lives on the other side of town and there are entire months that go by now that we don't even see each other.

Which is why a month or two ago, when R. found about the college visits, he asked if he and his oldest could join us.

"Our boy's a year younger than Snag's," said R.'s wife. "It's kind of early for him to be thinking about college, isn't it?"

"I want him to see there's an alternative to prison," said R. "Besides, it'll be fun."

Our first visit was a big land-grant university in a small city a few hundred miles from home. Nice enough campus, nice enough people, nice enough all around.

"What did you think?" I asked as we got back in the car that afternoon.

"I'd rather be dead than live here," he said.

"When you're my age you'd rather be dead, period," I said.

"I'd rather be dead than be you," he replied.

"They grow up so fast," said R., wiping away an imaginary tear.

The next morning we toured a medium sized private school in a big city a few hundred miles further down the road. It was a beautiful campus in a lovely part of town. The admissions presentation included an engaging, witty engineering professor and an articulate, self-deprecating student from Italy.

"I wish I could go to school here," R. whispered ten minutes into it.

"Tell me about it," I whispered back.

"How much is tuition?" he asked.

I told him.

"Jesus Christ!" he blurted, prompting a scathing look from his son.

"Yeah, but with some of this, some of that, we can probably find a way to make it work."

"What's his GPA?" he asked.

I told him.

"Jesus Christ!" he blurted again, prompting another look from his son. "I guess we know one thing he got from the Lovely Bride," he continued.

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Because we spent high school smoking and reading Kafka."

"And playing foosball," I reminded him. "We played a lot of foosball."

"Foosball too," he agreed. "I still can't figure out why that didn't attract more girls."

"They were probably scared away by our coolness."

"Be quiet," his son hissed.

The presentation ended and we wandered over to the bookstore to buy t-shirts and magnets.

"What did you think?" I asked my son.

"I liked it," he said.

We spent another day in the city, eating barbecue and Italian food and sightseeing. On the way home we stopped at Field of Dreams, where we'd been years before.

"Do we have to do this?" my son asked, reluctantly taking his baseball glove out of the trunk.

"Humor me," I said.

R. and I played catch with our sons for a while, until they were bored and our arms hurt. We bought some more t-shirts and magnets and got back in the car.

"Cats in the Cradle," said R., wiping away just a little bit of a real tear this time.

"Cats say 'meow,'" I said.

34 comments:

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a nice trip, Snag.

Why am I now imagining the scene from Tommy Boy where they're driving along, singing along with the Carpenters?? :)

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

huh.

I went to the first college that would take me. Simpler process. Cheaper too.

Mandos said...

In Canuckistan, most students (including myself) go to the school that's closest to home, or at least in the same city, for their undergraduate degrees, and not a small number also continue on to get graduate degrees from the same place.

For me, my Bachelor's was just an extension of high school with much less supervision.

It's cheaper that way too.

Now I've experienced US schools, but *not* as an undergraduate student, but the undergraduate student experience is really very different here. People identify with their school, even in big state schools, as something other than a school, whose purpose is educating you. It's a strange cultural phenom.

Snag said...

Nothing in my experience would lead me to guess that I'd be graced with a cheap alternative in anything related to my kids.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

OK, I'm gonna call for a Shenanigans Flag on this one.

Earlier today, that last line was different, and you can't say I'm just under the influence of adrenachrome this time.

Jennifer said...

I second that and toss down another Shenanigans Flag!!

Jennifer said...

Speaking of cats and foosball... I never played much foosball, but do recall taking a little catnap under one late one night.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Heh.

Foosnap.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brando said...

Having gone to a large state school/educational abattoir, I can definitely see the appeal of a private institution.

Good luck to your son, Snag.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Sod the bleedin abbatoir!!! I want to be a freemason!!

Snag said...

Life is art. Art is iterative.

Neither of which helps pay the tuition bills, but there you are.

Jennifer said...

Ouch.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I still want to be a freemason.

Jennifer said...

I'd go for that. Are they taking women yet? I mean in ways other than biblical?

Snag said...

A fraumason?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

a freemadaughter.

Snag said...

I don't want my freemadaughter to marry a cheapmason.

Jennifer said...

A fraumason?

LOL!!

Unfortunately, I might be one of those already... They're not what they're cracked up to be.

fish said...

I hate it when I get cracks in my masonry.

Snag said...

Or masons on crack.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

WHAT'S THAT CRACK SUPPOSED TO MEAN??

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

wait.... Snag's got daughter's now?

Maybe THAT's where Jennifer's third lamblet got to!!

Snag said...

I'm not sure how a girl would do in this household. Even the Lovely Bride looks a little PTSD most mornings, and she's used to it.

Jennifer said...

Maybe THAT's where Jennifer's third lamblet got to!!

Dear. Lord.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

uh-oh.

This thread has the whiff of Red Singlet about it....

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Even the Lovely Bride looks a little PTSD most mornings

frankly, so do I.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"I want him to see there's an alternative to prison," said R. "Besides, it'll be fun."

Our first visit was a big land-grant university in a small city a few hundred miles from home. Nice enough campus, nice enough people, nice enough all around.
==================================
I lol'ed.
~

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Michael Jackson,麥可傑克森

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Jennifer said...

Snag... what is it with your site and the Asian spam?!?!

Substance McGravitas said...

"I'd rather be dead than live here," he said.

The value of a small town is realized when you discover how easy it is to find people to mooch drinks from.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

"I'd rather be dead than live here," he said.


I think the course is clear.

It's never too early to teach that adulthood is pain, boredom, and degradation.

It builds character, they said

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's never too early to teach that adulthood is pain, boredom, and degradation.

All of which can be summed up in four letters:

W
O
R
K
~

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Disturbing, if true.
~