I went to a dinner the other night where I was the featured guest and by the end of the evening almost everyone there hated me. It feels bad to be so obviously hated and I always want to be liked. I probably want that too much.
The reason I was a featured guest is because they wanted to talk about the subject of whether or not kids should go to college. I had to start off with my ten minutes on the topic and then the discussion would begin.
There were two people there from the NY Post, one person who called himself “an economist” who used to work at Fox Business. One interesting woman was starting an online dating service that matches people based on their sense of humor. One woman worked at 60 Minutes. There were some teachers there. There was one person there who fights terrorists for a living. Several people were ex Washington DC political people. A few lawyers. I felt like I was going to be accepted.
But they hated me.
I gave my ten minute spiel on it. I started by reading this death threat.
Readers of this blog know my stance. Here are three links:
- Living Life is Better than Dying in College
- 8 Alternatives to College
- 10 Reasons Not to Send your kids to college
My main point: Student loan debt is higher than credit card debt for the first time ever. Kids can’t be entrepreneurs or artists anymore. They have to be janitors until that debt is paid off.
I also stated that a smart, aggressive kid with a five year head start (i.e. they don’t go to college) will figure out all he or she needs in terms of networking, socializing, critical thinking, etc. and not have the extra $200k in debt and 5 year lag that their college-educated peers have.
To me this is all obvious. Why go to prison when you can be free?
Probably 16 of the 20 people there completely hated me by the end of my ten minutes. You ever get that visceral feeling when everyone in a room is sending waves of revulsion in your direction?
One guy said, “I went to college those four years and now I’m in my dream job and I learned things about myself that I never would’ve learned and…” I can’t remember the rest of what he said. For one thing, how could he know what he would’ve learned if he didn’t go to college? And for another thing, who cares about his personal experience?
We’re all in NYC and the average age around the table was about 40. We’re the masters of the universe! What about the personal experiences right now of 22 year olds who graduate who can’t get their dream jobs and are worried sick about all the debt they collected?
Before the end of the night everyone had given me their personal experience and how great college was for them. It was like I was the accused and my judge, jury, and executioner equated college with perpetual orgasm.
One woman said, “What’s with this indentured servant thing? Who says kids have to do what they want to do?” Forgetting the fact that it’s the kids who don’t have to pay down a lifetime of debt that start companies, create jobs, invent things, cure cancer, become artists, etc. No more. Now they have to make pencils at the factory.
One person kept saying “no matter how much debt someone has, an entrepreneur will figure out how to get money to start his business.” This has not been my experience in being an entrepreneur. What if he also has two kids and a new mortgage. He’ll quit his job, raise money, and start a business in this environment?
Another person said she would’ve been a stay-at-home mom with five kids if she had never gone to college instead of working her dream job at 60 Minutes. Which actually makes my point. She never had the debt that current kids have. She had choices in life. Kids now (or their parents) have debt.
But it’s stupid of me to rehash this. I could’ve said all this then when I had the chance. I sat there smiling like an idiot.
The main thing is, these people didn’t like me very much. I felt like I had upset the religion of America so I was an apostate. I left at the end and very few said goodbye to me. They were all talking and joking amongst each other and Claudia and I slinked out of there. I don’t like being disliked. I shouldn’t care but I do. This is what I get for going out at night. I bet if I had brought candy to the event and given some to everyone then I would’ve been liked a little better. Just like I did every day in 8th grade.
But it’s my fault. I felt like I didn’t make my point well enough. I thought I was going to state my case and everyone would applaud and agree with me and maybe there would even be a trophy with my name on it. And then we’d all eat dinner and tell stories about how bad college was.
Claudia said to me right afterwards, “you can’t accept these dinner invitations anymore unless running it by me first.” Her point was: I had gotten worked up, it was late for us so my morning routine would be upset, and nothing had been accomplished. I hadn’t saved the world after all. I said, “but why didn’t they like me?”
When we got back home I got into the bed right away but couldn’t sleep at all. I thought about how my 12 year old was graduating 6th grade the next day. Little did the people at the dinner know that I don’t even think kids should go to the glorified babysitting service that we call first through twelfth grade. I’d rather my kids just sit at home and get a better education watching cartoons.
Good thing I had kept my mouth shut.