RELEVANCE

 

                              A tale of the Sixties

 

          Once a young man worked at a desk in the outer offices of a Congressman, typing and filing papers.  He was a college drop-out, this bright young man, who had been somehow turned off by formal schooling.  While he was not quite a convert to the Counter-culture, something in the fever of the times drove him from the classroom to the real world, where men directed other men and the problems of race, poverty and war were on the firing line.

 

          Somehow, then, he got this job, and found it exciting; for the first time he knew what he was doing and why.  Never in all his eighteen years had he worked so hard, and in no great time his diligence attracted the personal attention of the Congressman himself.

 

          His lack of education was the pity.  The Congressman liked the boy, yet saw that he wrote an ignorant English and knew depressingly little of history, economics or law.  What would be his future?  Without nurture, his natural ability would go to waste. 

 

          So the Congressman took from his own pocket -- or from his

constituents? -- the money to send the young man back to college.  Clear up the rough edges; give the boy a background he can build on.  Plato, Cicero, McLuhan.

 

          A month later this same Congressman was surprised to find this same young man back at the desk and typewriter.  What was he doing there? Explain yourself, young man!

 

          Here is the answer:  his college sent him.  All students, it had been voted by the Academic Council, must counteract the dead hand of irrelevant classroom exercises by going out into the World.  Out there, and not in musty books, would be found the education a proper 20th Century college must appreciate as revolutionary and ecstatic.  Pursuant to this ideal, our young man had been assigned to the Congressman's office, to perform true and relevant duties and earn a meaningful B.A.

 

          The only difference is that the Congressman now pays the college and not the boy.

 

Ralph A. Raimi

1972