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May 16, 2008 - Wes Burns
Escapism is important in life. I know that if I couldn't spend a few moments each day lost in the unreal then my only mention in the TR would be as “the guy on the roof”. Everyone finds some small moment of the day to imagine their life as they would like. As a child wishing for the childlike things: money, power, revenge against your enemies. Later in life our fantasies start to change. We dream not about having all the money but having just enough money to infuriate one person (ex-wife, boss at work, someone from high school that you still hold a grudge against to this day).
I have just recently embraced a new fantasy. I first had this fantasy some time in the first few months following graduation from college. I would have written the whole thing off as being yet another personal mental diversion but, after discussion with my compatriots and contemporaries, I now know that this fantasy is much more wide spread amongst the post-collegiate crowd than I ever thought. I am talking about the “blue collar” fantasy.
Right off the bat, I understand that fantasies are supposed to embody the far flung and untenable wishes (read: elaborate revenge fantasies) we have every day. For those that do not understand let me explain the mindset of the modern college graduate who decided to pursue a liberal arts degree. We were told that, despite the fact that we attended the same colleges as the engineers and the nurses, our degrees would be important too. “Its not so much what you get your degree in, just that you have a degree”. I'm not sure who said this to me but that person was a liar.
There is a unique, 3-step panic that settles in after graduating college. First is the realization that you majored in something totally worthless. Second is the crippling debt acquired by naively accepting student loans from some usurious, predatory lending organization. Third is the overwhelming sense of jealousy you feel towards people like engineers and nurses who are hired right out of school and buy cars and homes and generally make you want to wretch.
It is here in stage three that the blue collar fantasy comes into play. We, the graduates, find a sudden urning to enter the skilled work fields. I know I have lost many an hour lost in the notion of the peaceful and fulfilling life I would have as an auto mechanic. I'm not even that good with cars, let alone mechanically inclined enough to pursue it as a career; then again that's why they call it a fantasy. And its not just me, so many of the post college crowd know what I'm talking about; the fantasy settles in right after deciding to go back to grad school and right before buying Powerball tickets.
If any of my intrepid readers out there have children please, please do them a favor. When the time comes to pick colleges tell them to go to a technical school. They'll argue and say they want to go where they want to and study what they want to and that's when its your turn to tell them that unless they want to live in abject poverty for the rest of their life they're going to study something useful. And to all the over educated mechanics, bakers, organic farmers and truckers out there keep your head up; I heard the Powerball's up to $35 million.
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