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Inspirational Reads

Forever in Debt to Your Priceless Advice

June 22, 2010

I read yesterday that Rick Riordan is planning a new series based on Greek mythology. In case you're not familiar with Monsieur Riordan, he's the author of the best-selling young adult series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the first book of which, The Lightning Thief, was released as a movie earlier in the year.

So, Rick Riordan is that guy down the street gleefully rolling in a pile of cash thanking Zeus as he does so.

He might squeeze in a little bit of thanks for Ra, too, as Riordan's written a series of books based on the Egyptian pantheon, as well.

A quick read of his Wikipedia Biography shows that the native Texan dons the burnt orange and white as a Texas alumnus, and that he still lives in San Antonio. I'll bet he remembers the Alamo. While at Texas, he studied English and History.

Fascinating, I know. You woke up this morning and wondered all about the life of the author of the Percy Jackson books. Or didn't. And you're probably wondering why the fuck I'm so interested, other than the fact that I generally like people from Texas.

For the answer to these questions, we'll have to go back to 1993, when I was beginning to shift my focus from what was inside Jodi Hippensteel's shirt (mental note: stalk her on Facebook later today) and more what I would do with the rest of my life. More specifically, I was pondering what it was I should major in when I got to college.

My first inclination was to study English, as I was rather fond of English and language as a whole, and I also enjoyed dissecting books other than The Scarlet Letter for their depth, meaning and symbolism. As a backup plan, I pondered studying history, focusing on ancient history since I had been almost singularly obsessed with the Roman Empire since the sixth grade. Given this, I'd probably have sought a degree in the Classics.

Even then, I had aspirations of becoming an author (something I had been working on since the third grade). I was working for the local newspaper and also for the student-run newspaper at my high school, so I had some writing experience under my belt. I was just going to start getting serious about my possible career.

I voiced these opinions to my parents who enjoyed dangling me upon marionette strings, ensuring that they controlled as much of my life as humanly possible were interested in helping me make a sound and wise decision.

My father just seemed happy that I was going to college. My mother, on the other hand, began growling the moment I started speaking.

"I'm not paying for you to go to school and study some la-di-da subject that you'll never be able to get a job doing!" she howled, banshee like in the pitch and timbre of her vitriol. "I'm not wasting good money on you to tiptoe through the daisies for four years. You're going to go and study something that you can make a career out of!"

And that was the end of that. Since I had done well in my high school chemistry classes (in which things like "reaction mechanisms", "kinetics", "quantum mechanics" and "physical chemistry" aren't ever really mentioned, giving you that whole false sense of security thing), I opted for a major in chemistry.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my undergraduate institution. It's just that...well, the facilities were a bit dated and we didn't have a whole lot of laboratory equipment, especially instrumental equipment. So, while still in high school and weighing the idea of studying a scientific discipline, I pondered going to a larger school where I could get things like "hands on learning" and stuff like that.

My mother would have none of this. "You're not going to a big state school!" she hissed. "They don't teach you anything there. You just get an indoctrination!"

Incidentally, I converted to Catholicism whilst in college.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Also, incidentally, my mother snarled--actually snarled! Feral growl, teeth-bearing rictus and all--that I should "get real" when I was thinking about going to graduate school, and tossed around the words "Notre" and "Dame". At this point, I had wriggled out from under her thumb enough that I wasn't going to put up with her bullshit and then I pointed out that I would actually get paid to go to school there. I guess a degree in the sciences does have its advantages...

It shut her the fuck up, which accomplished my prime objective, but anyway, back to the story.

So, I ended up studying a subject I wasn't really that fond of at a small school with limited resources to help bolster that study wondering if my job is going to be shipped to India tomorrow or next week.

Meanwhile, in my spare time, I study Latin and the history of Rome, from the founding of the city to the fall of the Empire and the transition period after that where the great kingdoms of Europe slowly rose from the ashes of the Empire. I am also writing a book featuring Greek gods and working desperately to sketch out a fiction series that will be an allegory to various aspects of the rise of the Roman Empire that may or may not be geared toward middle school girls so that I, too, can shit gold bullion.

So, Rick Riordan? I admire you, sir. Please, don't stop wallowing in that pile of cash. Enjoy every moment of it. You've certainly shown what a waste of time a degree in history and language is, not to mention how unhealthy it is to have an obsession with ancient mythological stories. Yessir, I'll bet you're regretting that degree these days.

Because I enjoy my own cleverness so much, I thought I'd share this little sniglet of what I wrote last night in my Greek gods story (though if you've read my status updates on Facebook, this is old hat):

"Walking into the bedroom, Amanda rolled her eyes. 'Please,' she reproached, 'Priapos you're not.'"

By the way...if you're not familiar, don't look up "Priapos/Priapus" at work...


Eric said...

Posting images of the Texas cheerleaders is always 'Priapropriate'.

Let us know when we can start buying your books so you can start your own honey / money bin.

words...words...words... said...

Nice reference in the title!

And nice Greek goddess. Mmm, Melina.

Bev said...

Tiny Tim ref FTW!

I studied English and Theater at my big-ass state university, and I haven't regretted the decision a bit. I only regret that they added the brand new media WING complete with TV and radio stations after I had already graduated.

Pearl said...

A continual advertising campaign/flogging (ha!) from the Erectile Dysfunction people have ensured that I use the word "priapism" -- correctly! -- at least once a day.



Nej said...

Parents!!!! Gotta love 'em.

At least, that's what I'm told. :-)

Wynn said...

I'm glad that my parents always supported me in my choices, even when I dropped out from the university after studying a subject for 1½ years, spending all that time being drunk and then moving onto something totally different. My dad, being serious and rational, has never spoken a word about it, seemingly giving me his approval of the fact that his daughter is a slacker.


But I believe that's because he's got the same background as you, he wasn't allowed to be what he wanted to be. I will try to remember that when I get my own kids that wants to do crazy stuff.

BeckEye said...

Wikipedia: Priapus was best noted for his large, permanent erection.

Yes, those with large, permanent erections are usually not known for their hair color or piercing eyes or sense of humor.