Wednesday, June 18, 2008

adult education

I've been thinking about going back to school.

It all started last week when my boss, out of the blue, and "just out of curiosity," asked me if I could tell him how a laser printer worked. (For those who are wondering, I do not work for Dell or HP or even a local Central European firm assembling printers under the "Iffy" or "Ersatz" brand.)

I thought about it and realized that I could not -- I could not tell him how a laser printer worked! And oh, how this has haunted me. It's why I'm thinking of going back to school -- vocational school.

It's not the first time I've considered a change of career, or pondered the acquisition of some portable skills -- small-engine repair once called my name, but that was back in Canada where EVERYONE has a lawn mower or a chainsaw or a snowmobile and many have all three and use them interchangeably.

I once did a report on the workings of a two-stroke carbureted engine and I remember it in detail. I asked my cousin, who was studying mechanical engineering, to explain it to me, telling him I would be expected to incorporate "colorful and apt similes and analogies" into my account -- my cousin did one better and incorporated them into his own account -- "The piston moves up and down in the cylinder like dog food in a can" -- being the one that leaps immediately to mind.

In fact, I remember the workings of the two-stroke engine so clearly, I may just describe them to my boss, substituting "laser printer" for "engine."

"And then the letters appear on the paper like dried dog food pellets on a plate."

Needs work, I think I'll call my cousin...

[Pictured above: a laser printer at work!]

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