Piled Higher & Deeper

The letters PHD sitting on backlit computer keyboard
From my Carside Commentaries Collection, written in 2017

What you are about to read is not intended to be offensive to bona fide PhDs who busted their chops to earn their coveted pieces of parchment. So, everyone put your hackles down right now; this is satire. Put another way, if you’re a sensitive snowflake … stop reading now.

All Those Acronyms In My Soup

Every time I hear the acronym Ph.D., my mind reflexively serves up the joke we’ve probably heard at once in our lives …

Question: ….What do the letters Ph.D. stand for?
Answer: ……Piled Higher and Deeper.

Groan. I know … All those comedians are out of work, and I am trying to be funny here. I apologize, but my humor is prone to getting derailed rather quickly.

Off The Rails

My husband ran off with a woman who is a Ph.D., so one day, I decided to consult my favorite PhD [Dr. Google] to see what is involved in earning a coveted PhD. I never cared enough to look it up before having a personal frame of reference such as this.

The takeaway was that earning a PhD requires candidates to hone the art of assembling and regurgitating a voluminous body of data to appear to have ‘expanded the boundaries of knowledge.’ Wow.

Okay, so in average-joe lingo [for us mere mortals], it means that Said Candidate did a ton of research and developed a thesis. Then, the candidate jumped through increasingly difficult hoops to ‘defend’ their newly aggregated ‘philosophy’ in front of a panel of over-degreed academicians.

Sounds like a fun time for a Friday night, eh?

Busts of Ancient Theorists

Let Them Eat Cake!

It may vary depending on the institution, but it appears to me that these overly-degreed types believe that along with their doctorate comes three additional initials to append to their signature: VOC. That stands for Vicarious Osmotic Co-Regency.

This is not a real term. I made it up.

No, it’s a funny way to codify that these folks believe that since they are affiliated with institutions conferring advanced degrees, then they become key holders of The Fountain Of Universal Knowledge.

But then, who am I? And why should my opinion matter?

It doesn’t. I’m not a scholar. No, I’m not in the same zip code as these venerated academicians. I’m just an everyday person — and gasp! (clutching my chest!)  — an everyday person not having an advanced degree. Quick! Call campus security! How dare this woman opine on the academic process when she possesses no parchment from our institution?! LOL

Distance Learning Gets A Lot More Bandwidth

I’ll step away from the podium and microphone for a moment to whisper off-air comments to avoid appearing overly flip and disrespectful.

Call me simple, but why would anyone want to pay ungodly amounts of money to vacuum up a bunch of facts (and try to store them in limited mental RAM) when any peon can access Dr. Google’s infinite knowledge base for free simply by using a smartphone and two thumbs? Duh!

While we’re on the subject of Google—on the off chance that you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard yet—Big Brother Google IS taking over the world, do n’tch know?!

You’re welcome.

Gorilla thinking

Riddle Me This Batman

Furthermore, why does anyone — other than perhaps medical students taking the Hippocratic oath and intending to one day be treating patients and writing pharmaceutical prescriptions — even need or want a doctorate?

Isn’t having a Master’s degree and keeping up with annual continuing education courses enough to function intelligently in one’s profession and live well?

Excuse my sense of humor here. The photos I saw of a few Ph.D. conferring ceremonies looked eerily akin to being inducted into secret societies. I mean (seriously?) a ‘hooding’ ceremony?!

And what’s up with the muckety-mucks wearing those heavy black velvet robes? That’s way creepy if you ask me. A word to the wise: if you’re ever at a conferring ceremony and notice a pentagram drawn on the floor and realize that people are standing in a circle around it … quick! … run for your life!

Before any of you overly-credentialed types start getting your gums in a flap, relax. As I said, this is satire.

Not To Be Outdone

[Polishing my fingernails on my lapel.]

Well, not to brag, but I have assembled a few facts. I, too, have developed my own ‘philosophy,’ and I am ready to defend said philosophy.

My philosophy is rather simple. Knowledge gained outside academia can benefit one just as much as knowledge garnered by emptying one’s wallet and becoming a lemming to get a degree from an institute of … ahem, excuse me while I stiffen my upper lip to enunciate the word ‘higher learning.’

To support my humor philosophy, consider the following:

    1. Knowledge gained through self-study never leaves one up past their eyeballs in debt for student loans. (Check.)
    2. Knowledge gained through self-study never requires donning that ridiculous-looking square hat with that tassel-thingy dangling in your field of vision. (Check.)
    3. Most of all, knowledge gained through self-study is less likely to leave a person with a prickly personality and frozen stern demeanor that says: “My knickers have been twisted and in an uncomfortable knot for decades!” (Check.)

Furthermore, it also appears that the overly-degreed types believe that Botoxing everything from the neck up helps them seem more intellectual and learned.

All I have to say to that is, “Hey! Blink, will you?!”

Close up of Kat Diesel Front End Loader Tires

Acknowledgments

Humor aside, I realize we’re all different. I honestly and very seriously respect that some folks want  - – and may even need  — a PhD in their chosen professions. And if that’s your case, I say, go for it! Pull out the stops! Trip the light fantastic! Do backflips off the university diving board.

And when you get your Ph.D., pile it as high and deep as your little heart desires.

And hey, while you’re at it, why stop at the degree? Why not differentiate yourself and pull ahead of the pack by rolling up to your conferring ceremony in a Kat Diesel front-end loader?!

What is it they say? … Go big or go home? Now that would be going big, wouldn’t it?

Body in morgue with toe tag that reads: Game Over

Um, Yeah, About That Sudden Stop At The End …

As I end this post, I will switch from satire to serious-as-a-judge mode. Degrees or no degrees, at the end of this life, when it’s all said and done, our hearts will beat for the very last time.

When that happens, we all level up. All that will matter is our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Once we leave this life, no one gets to sit in the best seats. No one gets to take their gold name tags, keys to the executive washroom, and venerated titles with them. That is unless you’re counting the title printed on the toe tag at the morgue that reads ‘Highly Educated Dead Guy.’

The body we pampered so much will return to being nothing but ashes and dust. And what about all that knowledge we worked so hard to prove we had while we were alive? It’ll become useless as our mental faculties break up.

There’ll be no more egos to aggrandize, no more (imagined) centrality to gloat over. Everything here will suddenly become irrelevant.

And what about that $100,000+ you spent on getting yourself educated? Down the drain.

It’ll be Game Over.

The bottom line is that no matter how educated we were, how big our houses were, how many expensive cars we died with, or how large our bank accounts swelled to be — all of our graves will be the same size.

Nevertheless, I Say, Go For It

Live large. Do whatever flips your wig. Get a degree  — or not. Get two or three degrees if it makes you feel more ‘self-actualized.’

Just be careful not to take yourself (and those degrees) too seriously because no one’s getting out of here alive. You can’t take any of it with you.

Just ask King Tut.

Everyday People

I’ll close by saying that my non-PhD philosophy can be summed up in a stanza from an old song from the Hippies Movement in the ’60s.

Sly & The Family Stone once sang: “I am no better, and neither are you. We are the same, whatever we do.” A couple of lines later in the song, we are reminded to love and appreciate how there are ‘different strokes for different folks.’

And all I can add to that is the closing refrain of that song: “I am Everyday People.”


*** No academicians were harmed while writing this piece.


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