The other day I was riding in an elevator, and I was slightly bored. My mind began to wander towards the realm of the imagination... "What if...", I imagined, "at the end of my elevator ride, the door opened and I was in a different life. I would step out of the elevator and into a whole new world, a whole different me." Oh, just think of the possibilities. Imagine getting into an elevator, and being able to push the "Do Over" button.
When I was a little girl, I had definite ideas about how I wanted my life to be -- as most children do. Mostly, I knew the most important thing was to have a university education. It is the one thing no one can take away from us. Knowledge is the key to all things, including respect from other people. In "The Wizard of Oz", all the scarecrow wanted was a brain.
"I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you'll be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain...
Wizard of Oz: Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma. Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD.
Scarecrow: The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh joy! Rapture! I got a brain! How can I ever thank you enough?
Wizard of Oz: You can't.
Some areas of my life -- specifically my job choices -- have not been at all the way I wanted them to be, because I was not fortunate enough to get a university education. Education is the class system of the 21st Century, and because I am not formally educated, I am "less than". I am keenly aware of this fact every day, and I am made subtly aware of it in a multitude of subliminal ways.
A university education can change our whole lifestyle -- the house we live in, our furniture, our clothing, what type of car we drive -- if we own one. It can affect our status in the community, even our social networks, and it can otherwise have an impact on every aspect of the life we lead. I do feel a bit like the Scarecrow at times. He knew what he was missing. Perhaps one day I can step into the elevator, and step out into a whole other life. I have a feeling I wouldn't be in Kansas anymore...