Mad Skillz

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Parents, there will come a time when your child will need to make some big University decisions. And it's important to remember that when your progeny asks you to pony up $50K per year so he can go to Vassar College and study Comparative Literature with a minor in Dramaturgy, you slap him in the face and say, "Party's over, punk! You're headed for trade school!"

I offer this advice not as a parent, but as a full-fledged adult college graduate who has absolutely no viable modern life skills.

I have no idea what makes my car go "vroom vroom," or how pressing the shiny buttons on my computer allows me to see photos of cats wearing fruit helmets. I can't lay carpeting or reset a circuit breaker, and it takes some guesswork to be sure which end of the light bulb is the "screw-in" part.

I recently got raped over the coals (that's right, isn't it?) at Best Buy, who are the only suburban computer repair game in town since the implosion of Circuit City.

Now, I'm fairly tech-savvy. I have been known to Instant Message and make sideways faces out of sheer punctuation. But when it comes to under-the-hood issues, I might as well be re-fueling the space shuttle.

Tech support knows this, and taking a page out of the much older and slimier auto mechanic's handbook, may say "Whoa buddy, it looks like you're going to need a new flux capacitor in there, maybe two, and you'll probably need to upgrade your Romulans, since your carburetor is totally fried."

To which I assume most customers reply, "Yes, I'll pay anything! Just save my collection of fruit-helmet-wearing cat photos!"

Why are we so willfully ignorant about the technologies that are most common and critical to our everyday lives? Imagine how much money I could save (or make by ripping people off) if I knew how to repair a computer, or a car, or a Teddy Ruxpin!

After nearly a quarter-century of education, there is only one thing I can actually do well, and that's write a pretty sentence:

And so, in the pearl gray mist of morning, Anna came down from the peak of a reverie, suddenly compelled to dissolve the sisterhood, and claim Martin's love for her own.

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