Words of Advice from a Two-Time College Dropout

Graduation Cupcakes!

High school graduation parties can be cool, but what if life seems all downhill from there?

Like anyone with a working Internet connection, from time to time I find myself completing online surveys about various companies or products, whether for fun, for freebies, or in hopes that the survey will include an essay question that you can use as a soapbox to unleash a thousand-word tirade about the last time their services ticked you off and ruined your day. “That’ll show ’em!” you think to yourself as your carefully crafted vitriol is forwarded to the survey company and assimilated into the results database containing hundreds of thousands of other surveys, someday to be skimmed by a distracted HR rep who might raise an eyebrow at your poison-pen screed, if you’re lucky.

Every such survey has the obligatory section whose questions are designed for demographic pigeonholing of your results. I don’t mind revealing my ever-advancing age, blissful marital status, or conspicuously dull bloodline. My least favorite question is always, “What is the highest level of education you have completed?” It sounds simple and uncomplicated, especially if you earned a degree. Sometimes I wonder if those who attended graduate school and/or who hold multiple degrees receive a little bonus from the survey company in return, to thank them for bolstering the results with certified demographic classiness.

Mine is the humble ignominy that requires me to check “Some college”. It’s always a multiple-choice question, never a write-in field, so you can’t fall back on the standard glib answers such as “school of hard knocks” or “school of life”, joke answers such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” or “Hogwarts”, or even obscure answers such as “School of Fish”, in hopes that someone in the survey company will agree how cool a song “3 Strange Days” was. Every time I spot the bland, undecorated phrase “Some college” on a survey, I wince for a second and have to shake off the reminder of a young adulthood that wandered astray.

Continue reading

Ten Tips ‘n’ Tricks for a Terrific (or at least Tolerable) Family Reunion

White Room!

Come on down! It’s fun for the entire family here at Fire Station THX-1138!

Every year my wife and I attend two family reunions, both of them on her side. My family reunited exactly once about thirty years ago at some public park two hours away from home, where two cousins and I were the only attendees under 35, and the overall average age was somewhere in the lower 60s. That trivia and the crushing boredom are the only takeaways I remember. If they ever attempted an encore, I wasn’t informed. I’m fine with never knowing.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, we shared photos from the 2016 edition of Anne’s dad’s side’s reunion, once again held the Sunday after Labor Day at the exquisitely sylvan, rugged, sprawling, visually arresting Turkey Run State Park in western Indiana. It’s a compromise between us central-Indiana Hoosiers and a healthy, distant branch of cousins and cousin-like hangers-on who live out in eastern Illinois. It’s a bit of a drive for all of us from our respective directions, but everyone agrees it’s pretty and non-boring.

This past weekend was the other reunion.

Continue reading

Birthday 41: the Underrated Sequel to the Big 4-0

Google Birthday Banner

There is nothing wrong with your ‘Net device. This search field is not clickable and is provided for illustrative purposes only. For best use, send the link to your friends and guffaw when they try clicking on it.

Fun fact: Google+ registrants whose birthdays are in their profiles are treated to a very special Google banner all day long. I rarely use my Google+ account for anything except tracking my YouTube history, but it was a nice, unexpected touch. At first I thought it was a salute to people that share a May 17th birthday, such as Dennis Hopper, Trent Reznor, Dave Sim, or my mother-in-law. When I realized it was keyed to li’l ol’ me, I was flattered and disturbed at the same time.

Continue reading

Welcome, New Bloggers! Your Default “About” Page is Showing.

Far be it from me to convince myself that 350+ consecutive daily MCC entries and fourteen years of Internet participation experience (dating to the era when Usenet was ebbing but not dying, and “social media” wasn’t a labeled thing) are sufficient credentials to hoist myself upon an ornate pedestal and begin dispensing wisdom from above to fellow WordPress users about The Correct Way to Do Blogging. For reasons that would require a separate entry altogether, I don’t even like dispensing constructive criticism to other online writers, let alone have the ego to declare myself in the sensei business. One glance at MCC’s minimal visual design should provide evidence enough that I have a multitude of lessons yet to learn for myself.

Regardless, longtime bloggers can agree on a few of the most basic of basics. Today’s message is about one of those super-basic basics.

Continue reading

How Not to Drop Out of College Twice

Like anyone with a working Internet connection, from time to time I find myself completing online surveys about various companies or products, whether for fun, for freebies, or in hopes that the survey will include an essay question that you can use as a soapbox to unleash a thousand-word tirade about the last time their services ticked you off and ruined your day. “That’ll show ’em!” you think to yourself as your carefully crafted vitriol is forwarded to the survey company and assimilated into the results database containing hundreds of thousands of other surveys, someday to be skimmed by a distracted HR rep who might raise an eyebrow at your poison-pen screed, if you’re lucky.

Every such survey has the obligatory section whose questions are designed for demographic pigeonholing of your results. I don’t mind revealing my ever-advancing age, blissful marital status, or complete lack of Hispanic bloodline. My least favorite question is always, “What is the highest level of education you have completed?” It sounds simple and uncomplicated, especially if you earned a degree. Sometimes I wonder if those who attended graduate school and/or who hold multiple degrees receive a little bonus from the survey company in return, to thank them for bolstering the results with certified demographic classiness.

Mine is the humble ignominy that requires me to check “Some college”. It’s always a multiple-choice question, never a write-in field, so you can’t fall back on the standard glib answers such as “school of hard knocks” or “school of life”, joke answers such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” or “Hogwarts”, or even obscure answers such as “School of Fish”, in hopes that someone in the survey company will agree how cool a song “3 Strange Days” was. Every time I spot the bland, undecorated phrase “Some college” on a survey, I wince for a second and have to shake off the reminder of a young adulthood that wandered astray.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: