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Don't stand out -- you're just one of us. For LJ Idol.


Twenty-one years ago*, I was talking about going to grad school with one of my cousins:

Me: ... and I sent the last of my applications in this week. Now, I play the waiting game.
Cousin: Why?
Me: ... Because I won't hear from them for a few months.
Cuz: No... why go to grad school?
Me: Because I want to. Because the job at the bank suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.
Cuz: It pays your bills. You get all the overtime you want** And it's a good job. Why do you want anything more?
Me: I did not go to college to work in a bank. It's just not where I want to end up.
Cuz: We all make compromises.
Me: This is not one I'm willing to make. Banking is not the universe for me. I want to work in Academia.
Cuz: You're turning down a good, solid job? Do you think you're better than the rest of us?
Me: What?
Cuz: That's what you're saying, isn't it? That you're so smart that you think you're above all of us.
Me (irked): No. I'm saying I want to do something else.
Cuz: You have spent enough time in school.
Me: (getting angry) That isn't your call to make.
Cuz: Stop acting like you are so god-damned special.
Me: (Coming close to losing my temper): You need to back off...
Cuz (getting in my face): YOU ARE JUST LIKE US!
Me: (angrily) I'm nothing like you. You've managed to destroy every chance you had to be someone better, either because of your temper or the alcohol...
Cuz: I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC
Me: Oh, please. Babies coming out of the womb know you're an alcoholic. They're all, "It's so cold... oh! such bright lights... yup... he's a pathetic drunk."
Cuz: HOW DARE YOU?
Me: I am going to take my shot. Your feelings on this subject don't matter to me.
Cuz: I... I am going to tell your mother about this.
Me: Okay. Have at it.

My cousin later did call my mother, who promptly ripped him a new asshole.

Several other, non-drunkard family members also expressed the opinion that I had no business going to grad school because I "would forget where (I) came from" and would become "too big for (my) britches".

They did not appreciate it when I told them that they could all kiss my fat, Irish ass.

The alcoholic cousin has been sober for well over a decade now, and does not remember this confrontation at all. (Note: he does not deny that it happened, just that he doesn't recall it. He freely admits that it sounds like something he'd say when he was on a bender.)

The other cousins? They learned not to bring it up.
____

*Man, how can it be that long when I've barely aged at all? ***
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** I was the only person doing my specific job at the back, so they never turned down my overtime requests. I averaged five-ten hours of overtime per week.
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***Shush. Leave me to my delusions.
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The is for the LJ Idol topic Jantelagen.

Comments

I loved the line about babies coming out of the womb -- I laughed long over that one! I also love the humor in your writing. You do great remembered dialogue. "Why do you want anything more" is such a self-defeating attitude in this situation.
Wow. That is evidence of some unbridled jealousy, for sure.

Of course, in my case, I was the first one on both sides of my mother's family to earn a graduate degree, so it was celebration time! My Pop-Pop was so proud. :)
This is that whole "crabs in a barrel" thing-- don't be better than us, how dare you think you could do better!

I really don't understand the obsessive need to tell you that you "should not" go to graduate school" because "that's enough schooling." How is that anyone else's decision to make?