Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Birthday Card From My Folks


As I mentioned in the last post, I'm turning 24 next Sunday. Oops! I mean 42! I keep getting that messed up.

Anyway, I just got a card in the mail from my parents. The front is just a picture of a jovial G.W. Bush (you've heard of him). Inside it says, "What's a birthday party without a clown?" Funny thing is I think my mom and dad both voted for him twice. It is nice to see that maybe they are beginning to see him for what he is (although "clown" is a little too innocuous a term for the bastard).

Also inside my mom wrote, "Dad wants you to have a little spending money for the next country you go to--to get your doctorate! He says it will be an incentive to leave Taiwan!"

Stuffed in the card was a bunch of money: a US five-dollar-bill, a ten-dollar-bill and a five-dollar-bill from El Banco de Ecuador, a five pound note from the Central Bank of Ireland, a five centavo note from the Central Bank of the Philippines, a bill from the Bank of Indonesia with a ten on it (it doesn't mention the name of the money), and a five pound note from the Bank of England. I have no idea where my parents got this money, what it is worth, or even if any of it (besides the $5 US) is legal tender anywhere in the world.

I kind of doubt that after accounting for exchange rates this money would buy me a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks of any of those countries, but it is the thought that counts, and I truly appreciate it.

Well, I can say right now that I have no interest in getting a PhD. Having that, or any other string of letters after your name doesn't mean much more than that you had the time and resources (whether or not you earned them yourself) to struggle through a course of study about a narrowly defined topic. Not to disparage my PhD friends, professors, and tormentors, but the value of a person comes from inside, not from his or her credentials.

Incentive to leave Taiwan? I don't really need that. What I need is an incentive to be happy staying in one place, no matter where that is.

I don't mean to be negative about the card; I thought it was funny and pretty cool. It's just that my dad seems to think I'm staying away from Seattle as part of some organized plan. Ha! I've never planned anything in my life!

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