Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Reality Download

 On a recent Tuesday, a rising junior at one of our nations fine universities joined his Dad for lunch. Over the course of the meal pleasantries were exchanged. The father, a "self made" man talked about his latest business issues, the son talked of school sports and a bit about his class work.

While awaiting dessert the son said,
" Dad, I've forwarded on to you the e-mail about next semester's tuition. As you've no doubt read it's up a few percentage points and this term they are receiving funds early to secure slots in the upper level curricula."

Smiling the server delivered desserts and coffee which absorbed the father's full attention for a few minutes.
Stirring his coffee the Dad looked up and asked,

" How did you want to handle that?"
"How did you want to handle that?"
"I'm not sure I understand you Dad, handle what? I forwarded the e-mail to you, all the data you need is in the e-mail." His demeanor was respectful but he had a slight expression of annoyance around his browline.

" Well, it's nice of you to keep me informed of what's important in your life son, it means a lot to me. But, I believe  that tuition statement is yours not mine so what are your plans toward that obligation?"

" Is this a joke Dad?"

" No son, it is not. Why did you ask?"

"Dad! What is going on here? This is crazy! Since when do you ask me what am I doing about  tuition? You take care of the tuition Dad, I take care of being the student".

The father set down his fork, reached into his breast pocket to extract some papers which he passed to his son. The son picked up the papers saying , " What is this? Christ Dad, I have to get back on campus by 3pm for crew. Will this take long?"

"Son, those papers are portable so if you need to leave go ahead."

Opening the papers the son was surprised. In his hands were bank statements, the title to his car, an insurance policy in his name only, a receipt for auto tags and taxes.

" What's this about Dad?"

"Choice and change", responded the Dad while signing for lunch.
He thanked the server, stood and asked his son if he would care to join him for his walk back to the office. Outside on the sidewalk the son said, " Look Dad, if you are making a point I am not getting it.
What I am getting is a stress headache so could you please just tell me what this is all about?"

In a relaxed manner the Dad looked over at this son , took in  a  deep breath and said,
"This is about choices and changes just as I said in the restaurant. You  know son, your generation were so enamored of the virtual potential of change, the power of the virtual, you pretty much overlooked the real. Millions of us parents sat around dinner tables trying to explain to our kids the reality of the virtual choice but we were not heard.  For you son, reality is now here to trump virtual. Your college fund is depleted. You lost about 47% in 2008. You've had  5 full semesters and a few summer sessions  of tuition, books, fees, drawing from the remaining 53%.  You are pretty much tapped out. Some of those papers I gave you is a print out of your college fund, the loses and the transactions to date. There is some money in there but sadly,  insufficient to cover your tuition."

Reeling a bit from this news the son sat down on a bench, shuffling the papers until he came to the funds report. He read the papers carefully, ran his hands thru his hair  before standing again to address his father.

" Okay, this shows we took a pretty serious hit. But Dad!  what is remaining will not cover the basics for the remainder of this semester never mind the upcoming one. I need some help here Dad. I mean, I never thought I would be standing on a public sidewalk asking my Dad if he was going to help me with college.  I mean it Dad! You  are the CEO of a great business, we aren't poor people Dad so what is the problem?"

" No problem son, just a choice. I choose my beliefs over yours."

" What! Dad, this is nuts. What beliefs? What choices? What the hell are you talking about?"

" Son, this is  about owning your choices. You made one, as did millions of you fellow virtual reality voters.
When your generation voted into office a  virtual idea of a man versus the reality of an idealist who never has worked a day in his life, this is the reality you elected.  I am making another choice. I believe in an America which is business driven, not government driven. I do not believe in the redistribution of wealth.  I believe in equal opportunity to earn wealth. I do not believe in rewarding greed and failure.  Nor, punishing those of us who have successfully achieved independence, accountability  and decency through hard work, ethical practices and prayer. I will not support the needs of an individual who rejects these beliefs or declines to acknowledge  the consequences of choice.  You helped put into office a man who stands against just about everything I believe in.  As a parent, I am obligated to provide you with wings. I want those wings to work son.  I will  tell you now I think the  flights for your generation are going to encounter extreme turbulance. I am taking this action to do my best to help you accept and prepare for the world you have chosen."

" Wait a minute! You are refusing to educate me because you couldn't control my vote? That's crap!"

" NO son.
This isn't about control.
It is about accountability.
Yes, I could manage to come up with the funds to pay your remaining education expenses but to do so I would have to eliminate some expenses. Those 'expenses' are good employees who have worked hard and loyally for us for decades. I don't think they should lose their jobs for your education. I don't think
they should lose their jobs, home, pensions and all hope in this real world because  your generation flexed it's numbers and decided to elect a president like it was  a video game scoreboard.  Game over."

" Dad, you can't stop progress or technology or all the changes to come. And you can't expect my generation to want a leader older than our grandparents. We made the best choice for our time.  This might have caught you by surprise but you have to adapt! Every generation does. I'll help you get a handle on the new reality stuff  Dad but,  right now,  I need for you to stand tall and do the right thing. For me."

Placing a gentle hand on his son's shoulder the father said,

  " Thanks son, but I'm good. You see I have a new downloadable app out there for all the parents who need a little advice about how to help their kids own their choices.  It's doing really well at a dollar per download! Actually, I am pretty confident  the company employees and I will all have comfortable retirements now that our websites , blogs, twitters and links are up to speed. "


chickory said...

and son? after this december - the death tax will take effect. so be prepared to sell the house and all other assets when mother and i die as you will owe half of my life's earnings to the IRS within 90 days. Have a nice trip back to school.

moi said...

Don't worry, son; doesn't matter that you don't finish college anyway. You'll work hard, only to discover that the government takes half your earnings, the stock market is about as reliable a means of investing as a game of craps, and Social Security is being slowly drained like a poisoned lake.

May as well put on the grey jumpsuit and shuffle foot yourself in line for the dole. I hear Tuesdays are toilet paper and meatloaf.

Pam said...

Son? Get a job and pay for your own college!

fishy said...

Yeah ... part of the turbulance predicted by Dad. Son best be ready to flap hard.

LOL, if there will be meatloaf there better be toilet paper!

What to do with what is left is a problem:what currency? what form?
what location? Really Folger's cans buried in the back yard is about as safe as real estate, banks, stocks or social security!

Chickory has it right,
security is water, fish, chicken, eggs and veggies. Maybe a grenade launcher.

Might interfere with his crew schedule. In this day and age, I wouldn't be surprised if son sues dad for "breach of comfort".

Jenny said...

Oh Son, maybe you can sell your car and stop buying expensive schnizz and "re-distribute" your priorities.

oh, "word" on the death tax.

Buzz Kill said...

I really can't have this conversation with The Boy because he's a staunch Republican and he gets the current economic situation. Although I think he thinks he's getting a free ride through college from us - which ain't happening (although the Mrs will probably trump me on that). Especially with the coleges he's applying to. He does have a job and is working about 20 hours a week and is making an effort to contribute. I'm so tired of politics.

Aunty Belle said...

Sonny Chile', fergit collich. Flee! Yore Mama din't slap all them Pnut butter sandwiches together fer years, wipe yore snotty nose an' wash smelly sports clothes jes' to have Tavistock make ya pay to learn subversive techniques of "Leading, risking & designing for Sustainable Society"

Better to be poor but free in mind.

Jes' grab yore hoe and start over thar' at the top of the row.

fishy said...

You know, it is probable in cases like these, son will return to campus talk to his crew coach and some allumni group will step up and fund his education.

My fantasy is millions of parents will "educate" their children to this reality. I think it fair to share the misery as well as the wealth.

Your son is not old enough to have voted in the last election. But you sure can offer guidance for the upcoming elections and certainly about the importance of every vote made.

Look out! I signed up to take a not for credit class in
"Architecture and Culture" at the local private university. I only made it to class number three as I wanted to bash the professor. A small, ugly, greasy haired, rumpled man who defines the USA and the Catholic Church as
"histories most vicious, invasive, culture destroying colonial empirists". I did point out to him the Mayans disappeared long before there was a USA or a Catholic Church and was told I was naive. THIS is who teaches our children? Infuriating!

One of my gilionaire friends did a smart thing for her accustomed to privilege son. She has him take out school loans for his tuition. If he earns a 3.0 GPA or better she pays off the loan, if not, the debt is his. Only took him one summer working 2 ugly jobs to figure out his reality.

Aunty Belle,
You know, it is plumb terrifying in the colleges these days.(see response to BK).
But ain't ya just proud of the Dad in this story?????

Milk River Madman said...

I can't even get started on all the things I want to say about this. I do know there is an entire generation that really doesn't understand hardwork and really expect something for nothing. In this case, an education that he doesn't have to pay for. The sad thing is that Obama wants every kid to have a college education that is funded with taxpayer loans. Much more to say but have lots of work to do. Great post Fishy.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Fishy,

I would have to say that the father started a little late. The earlier in a child's life that you instill than knowledge, "you don't work, you don't eat". The better off that child will be in later life. In many ways the parents have created the problem of youth thinking they can get something for nothing. That's why they've help to elect, someone who has never done anything in the real world.