In all of the man-to-man talks I've had with my father, he never once brought up the coefficient of X or its statistical significance in the world around me. Mom never once asked me about the process by which campaign managers influence the media so as to make the issues of their candidates seem more salient and important, and never in my career as a vigilante have I ever muttered to my younger sidekick, "If I didn't know what a daguerreotype was I wouldn't have made it out of there alive." In fact, to date, I don't think I've learned anything, or said anything of any consequence.
While college has taught me much, I want to learn subject matter that shows me the secrets of life and gives me something interesting to tell my grandkids when I no longer have teeth. I want to go to a class and finally hash out which came first, the chicken or the egg. And I want the class to include all of the over-exaggerated, ubernecessary elements of instruction that university-level education is supposed to give us to make our parents feel they've invested wisely in our futures. The lecture hall for our "Scrambled Evolution" class should be specially outfitted so as to act as the world's largest incubator. Then, while the lecture commences, students interview genetically altered giant chicks and have fun with buckets of egg white goop around them. It would be the first class where students could see the miracle of birth
without having to watch the documentary, "The Miracle of Birth," made famous by high school health classes back in the early '90s.
When that video started, you didn't know how to react. A vagina flashed across the screen and instantly you thought, "woah, a vagina." Then came the blood and guts, and you readied yourself to write a four-star review of the flick and buy it on DVD Widescreen. Then, just when you thought the video couldn't get any better, a bloody head popped out of the screaming mother like in the movie Alien, and the director backed up to show the money shot of the mother, restrained in a metal leg-vice that looked like it was designed by H.R. Giger.
That video taught me about the value of good entertainment when the lights popped back on, because the girl with the freckles no longer had freckles and everyone else's skin looked like a hazy shade of winter. Across the nation, high school students learned that life is a precious miracle given to a select few to help them grow spiritually. They also learned that during birth, the vagina can open up 10 inches wide. That video had an impact, and while that impact was the mild stench of someone's previously consumed chicken nuggets and green peas from the other corner of the room, it was still the kind of effect that after three years at Cornell I have yet to experience.
I think professors owe us a more dynamic curriculum. Here are some of my suggestions to keep you entertained while you eat your lunch.
First I suggest we throw morals out the window and start doing the kind of psychological tests that cause people's kidneys to fail. Somewhere along the line everyone stopped electrocuting humans and the animal rights people lost the battle hardcore. Without morals, we could start electrocuting the animal rights people. While this may or may not teach us more, it would lead to us having stories to tell our grandkids.
Second, let's stop pretending all of our endeavors have a real purpose. Some professors have spent countless hours in laboratories, on talk shows and with students to tell them his ultimate conclusion that, "We're all pretty tired." Instead of doing experiments like this, wouldn't it keep experimenters more entertained if they gathered a group of three-year-olds and convinced them that they were all stolen from their half-human, half-dolphin parents right after birth and that their belly buttons are really their blow-holes? It could be legitimized as a cohort experiment on the degree of gullibility in Ithacan three-year-olds.
Lastly, there should be a course on finding one's mantra. A mantra is an expression or idea that is repeated, often without thinking about it, that facilitates spiritual power and transformation of consciousness. As of yet I have not chosen my mantra. My top three runners up though are:
"Oh man would herpes suck."
"Get your damn dirty paws off of her, Biff," and
"I hate the Cornell parking ticket people ... a lot"
With self-defining statements like these, I'm headed for a future in the postal industry living in a shack, sending mail bombs to people who wear arguile. This is hardly the kind of resume that will get me a good internship. I came here to get an education and instead, I've gotten many, many parking tickets. Let it be known now that parking tickets are not a suitable replacement for an education.
I want to learn how to conquer the world. Our university was founded somewhere slightly to the left of the middle of nowhere, on a hill. Obviously our founder read SunTzu's The Art of War. "On Steep Terrain, seize the elevated land and wait for your opponent." So as we all wait to enter the world and go back into somewhere to rule the people who went to Emory and Maryland, why can't we test the type of education we receive?
To test whether the education I've already gotten is in fact useful, I recently donned an "I love Ithaca College" t-shirt and jogged over to their hill to see what I could do. It took a little while to get over there, and I sweated a lot, but within two hours after my arrival, I had successfully taken over the campus and outfitted three classrooms with the right kind of yellow heat lamps to incubate man-sized, genetically altered chicken eggs. But because of my stressful schedule here, I had to leave their campus in the hands of the militant, plastic spork yielding members of their lacrosse team. Presumably the martial law will crumble and hordes of I.C. students will pummel the lacrosse players with bigger plastic sporks and life will go on, but the point is, I was successful.
I saw first hand that it's not just the knowledge Cornell gives you that is important, but what you do with that knowledge that makes all the difference. Maybe we are learning, maybe our courses don't need revamping, maybe morals and meaning do play a role in education and maybe the burden of finding one's mantra isn't the responsibility of the University; maybe that's the job of marketing executives.
From my investigation into the planning of a new university curriculum, I uncovered that we learn a large base of leadership and financial skills instead of the secrets of life. Life has many secrets; How do I change a flat tire? Do I really save a dollar when I buy the large popcorn instead? Is God real? and Where the hell is the G-Spot?
The true answers to these questions may not exist, and our professors may not have the answers, but these are the questions that should drive us. These are puddles of curiosity that education should not be afraid to jump in. There are lessons of consequence to be taught, and while you might not learn them from text books, in college, you will learn something about yourself ... even if giant chickens never hatch.