This post by Megan McArdle has really caused my feelings on the OWS folks to precipitate (in the chemical sense). I’ve been wondering why the protestors are so angry. In some ways, the OWS folks are where I was 10 years ago. Except I never considered raging, and neither did most of my peers. Maybe that’s due to being a different time, in a different part of the economic cycle. Maybe it was being allowed to lose when I grew up. I don’t know. Maybe “there but for the grace of God go I” – I’ve gotten lucky in life after making some truly wretched decisions, some of which I am still literally paying for. I spent over 5 years in college to learn that liking computers doesn’t mean I like to write code, to emerge with an annoyingly large student debt and no degree. But the cachet of my school is such that having spent time there is a Big Deal; having gone there seems to count as much in some people’s minds as having graduated from some other schools.
Plus, I’ve got skills and talent, though I am neither the most skilled or most talented person I’ve worked with (which I’m also grateful for, it means I have had people I can learn from in my career). I wasn’t told this by my parents, but by people whose job it would be to turf me out if this wasn’t the case. Since I’m embarking on the great adventure of parenthood, I’ve found myself reflecting on the kind of parent I want to be, and realizing I don’t want my kid to “get a trophy for participation.” I want him to go out, kick ass, take names, and be a gracious winner afterwards; all while staying in the rules, written and unwritten. And children are really good at picking up on hypocrisy, so I’d better follow that philosophy as well.