The high cost of education has been very much in the news of late, particularly after the President’s recent speech about his plan to bring these costs under control. Not two weeks ago I also contributed some genuine ideas for reducing these expenses.
But you know what? I’m backtracking off this position a bit. Maybe college doesn’t cost as much as I thought. Maybe, just maybe… the benefits outweigh the costs.
I should know. It’s been a few weeks now since all three of my kids entered their freshman years at their respective colleges. I live in Lower Merion so I’m required by township law to say that they’re all great and special kids and I love them and blah-de-dee-blah-blah-blah. But gee… now that things are settling down a little for the missus and myself, I’m adding up the enormous costs of sending them away with the significant benefits derived from them being away and I’m starting to come to the realization that hey: this may not be such a bad deal. No, not such a bad deal at all.
In fact, it took me approximately 15 minutes to come up with these 38 reasons why the cost of our children’s college education is actually worth the money. Every. Single. Penny. I’ll keep my wife out of this, but rest assured… she’s vigorously nodding in the background. Empty nesters of recently graduated high schoolers, I’m sure you’ll agree?
1. I am not tripping over Gatorade bottles left on my living room floor. Nor am I picking them up from our driveway (along with a mysterious beer can or two that sometimes appears).
2. I am not tripping over running, soccer, tennis, squash and other miscellaneous shoes, sandals, slippers, Uggs, Toms or whatever that are left around my house.
3. There are no slamming doors.
4. I do not have to make awkward conversation with the stoned pizza delivery guy while screaming out for my son to “come to the Goddamn door.” In fact there are no pizza boxes to be found around my house.
5. Our food expense has dropped precipitously. The manager from our local Acme called us to find out if everything was OK.
6. I can turn off (or at least mute) my video chats with my children anytime I want.
7. On Saturday nights, I don’t know where they are and I don’t care where they are. I can resume heavy drinking with no fear of being called out at midnight to pick someone up or bail someone out of jail.
8. There are no closed doors in our house with mysterious things going on behind them.
9. My TIVO playlist is now completely devoid of back episodes of It’s Always Sunny and Workaholics.
10. Our municipal trash pickup consisted of one can. One!
11. There are no loud conversations involving unfamiliar voices about the Eagles coming from our living room at 3 a.m.
12. Each morning, I come down to a clean, clean kitchen.
13. There is quiet. Just blissful, beautiful quiet.
14. The only farts are mine. Let’s keep it that way.
15. I have hot water in the shower all the time.
16. Why is this lamp broken? Who broke this lamp? Answer me!
17. The Wi-Fi is now lightning fast.
18. There are no awkward moments with boyfriends and girlfriends where we are all trying to pretend that we don’t know about the mysterious things going on behind those closed doors.
19. I have not received a disciplinary email from a high school in months. Months!
20. I have had no reason to attend any high school event.
21. The cat just seems, I don’t know… less skittish?
22. Yes, that’s right. I’m naked more often. Deal with it.
23. I no longer have to make chit-chat with that dad of that kid I’ve been seeing at every school event since first grade and whose name I still don’t know.
24. I’ve endured no recent comments about my baldness. Also, I have not been called a loser in weeks.
25. Laundry? What’s that?
26. There is zero urine on the toilet seat, around the toilet, on the bathroom ceiling or in a Wawa cup by the side of my son’s bed. In fact, all toilets in my house are currently flushed.
27. I have not received a single email from an overzealous mom asking the parents on the high school soccer team (these are 17- and 18-year-olds, mind you) for a volunteer to bring “snacks” to the next game.
28. There is always ice cream in our freezer. And the bites are from us.
29. “But he said he was going to call me and he didn’t he call me! Why didn’t he call me?”
30. I always know how much gas there is in my car, even before I turn on the ignition.
31. The used Toyota that we bought for the kids has had no new dents in it since August.
32. Toilet paper aplenty!
33. I am no longer afraid to walk into my own basement. There is no trash, leftover food or half-dressed girls there (that’s another story for another time).
34. We took an overnight trip to New York last weekend… and the house didn’t burn down.
35. We just went out for dinner in Center City last night… and the house didn’t burn down
36. Oh, and dinner only cost me $100 not $250.
37. There are no longer any clothes on the floor of my sons’ rooms. Or towels. Or dirty, dirty underwear.
38. Related to No. 37, I no longer have to yell at my sons for wearing my underwear because they never put theirs in the laundry. I may never have to buy underwear again.
Yes the cost of college is high. Insanely, astronomically high. And you don’t even want to know what it’s costing me to put three kids through college at the same time. But I’ve done the math. I’ve added up both the intangible and tangible benefits derived from sending our darlings away. And I’ve realized this: The cost may be substantial. But the benefits? Priceless!