Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Have I mentioned lately that I hate my alma mater?

Filed under: — stan @ 7:41 pm

I recently wrote a bit about what I consider a cautionary tale of parenting gone wrong. I find it quite amazing that it still bothers me as much as it does, now nearly 30 years after it began.

The Rice Campus Store says:

Graduating from Rice University is an achievement that can be celebrated every day of your life.

But what if you don’t feel like it’s something to celebrate?

I’ve tried to make peace with my Rice experience. I even volunteered to interview prospective students for the university. I thought that this might help me to focus on and remember the positive aspects of my experience there. And in a way it did. It’s a fine school. There’s nothing wrong with it. It just wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I was forced into going there by a threat of being disowned. So I can focus all I want on the fact that it’s a good school and that I got a good education, but at the end of the day, I didn’t want to be there. And to this day I still wish there were some way to undo it or at least to forget about it.

This is why after 24 years I’ve not made even a token donation to Rice. When I graduated I took my diploma and left, and I swore a solemn oath that I would never give them anything. Every fundraising letter goes straight into the trash. I was so unhappy there that there’s really nothing they could do that would make me want to contribute.

Like my diploma in the attic, my college class ring has suffered from neglect over the last 24 years. I got it just because my mother thought I would want to have it as a memento some day. Given that she was the one who forced me to go there, you know where this is headed. I wore it for about six months and then put it away. I just didn’t like looking at it.

I haven’t seen it for at least twelve years, but the other day I ran across an ad for a place that buys scrap gold. I thought that that might be just the ticket. I could get rid of an unwanted memento and get some cash in the deal. So I went and found the ring.

Seeing it again brought back lots of memories, mostly bad. I looked at it for a bit. It was like new, since it’s almost never been worn. I took my pocket knife and carved some scratches in it, but I stopped because I didn’t want to ruin the knife. Then I took it outside and took a hammer to it. Hey, since I’m selling it as ’scrap gold’ I should make it into scrap, right? I put it face-down on the concrete and smashed it flat, and then I turned it over and beat on its face. I completely smashed the three owls and the word “RICE” on the front. That was very cathartic, since I’d fantasized about doing that pretty much ever since the day I got it.

This was all extremely satisfying in a very sad way.

Then I packed it up in a box and sent it off for scrap. I think it’s kind of appropriate that the gold buyer is near Houston, so my ring can go home to die.

When I retire in 2025 maybe I’ll feed my diploma to the shredder. If there are still blogs then I’ll post pictures.

In the meantime, you can just see the before-and-after of my class ring, and the check I got for it. Maybe I’ll donate the money to the college I really wanted to go to.

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