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It’s a parents job to point out the obvious, to shout “Cliff !” every once in awhile. I’m sure this is what mom believed she was doing when I announced, three years in to my Criminal Justice degree, I was considering a switch to Russian Literature. Her response was along the lines of “and what practical use is a degree in THAT ever going to have?”

At the time, I had no answer. Hadn’t really thought further ahead than “But I get to read the world’s most depressing novels ever written….”

In my first years at college I took acouple lit courses & loved them. Though my heart was in it, I did not have the time. After all, college is a balancing act if nothing else. I had to focus first on my core courses. Not to mention, I was busy fooling myself that I still had a snowballs chance pulling a decent grade in my Fortran class. That’s an ancient computer language – anyone remember Fortran ? Wow, those grasshoppers are a’chirpin’…

Shut up, I am not this old.

 I found myself speed reading through russian novels (which doesn’t work) and desperately trying to compile essays of meaningful content without a true grasp of the work. Unless you consider Cliff’s Notes legit. So I abandoned the dream of “I have a degree in suicides and socialists”.

A medium used by early homosapiens before the internet

Much of what I learned in school has since been rendered useless, however in this case, many (many) years later I can now retaliate with a heart-felt “Nahner nahner naaa naaa!”

I found myself suckered in to one of those excrusiating elementary school activities designed to increase parental participation. Specifically, a “Book Club”. Yes, reading a book and then attending a discussion group. Ok, cute idea, encourages reading, count me in.  It would have been more enjoyable had Holly not lost the book before I finished.

Let me elaborate. Not only was the book missing in action, Holly chose to hide this fact until the night before, too late for me to do much about it. For almost two weeks I was fed “I forgot it” or “its in my desk” whenever I asked for the book. But I had decided not to make a mountain out of the molehill of a book I could finish in less than an hour.

…. not taking into account I would at some point need the actual book itself.

The skill that guided me through Brothers Karamazov was more than adequate to fake my way through “Frindle”. And if I learned nothing else working in a corporate bank, I learned the power of the leadership position. So much to Holly’s dismay, I volunteered to lead one of the groups. This put me in the position of being able to cut and paste together my answers from the responses of others. my answers were in the form of a sumation of the others, I came across as a literary genius, was able to make this elementary piece of fluff literature sound as if it had deeper undertones, and no one was the wiser.

The moral of my story? Don’t mess with me, I took classes even I don’t understand and have at long last found a use for them !

Chekhov assures Tolstoy their readers will surely benefit from their wisdom if they don’t freeze to death first.