Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feline Education

I had some good news recently. My neighbor and his pit bulls moved out, and I was looking forward to being able to spend some peaceful time at home. However, my neighbors at the end of the street, who are usually very quiet, have recognized this void in the chaos, and have willingly stepped up to the plate of obnoxiousness. I'm all for kids playing outside, but when you hear nothing but a steady, non-stop stream of screaming for over an hour, it starts to wear on your nerves just a tad. I think I felt a little dip in my intelligence quotient. It may be a plot to make me totally stupid. So far it's working. Right now I'm trying to drown out the noise by watching old episodes of Ghost Hunters. I'll bet Jason and Grant had no idea they were fighting stupidity as well as investigating the paranormal.

Speaking of intelligence, thanks to Mental Floss, I discovered a list of animals with university degrees. Well, they don't REALLY have degrees. They were often test cases for schools that were suspected diploma mills. Someone would sign Toonses up for an MBA, and they would grant it, and claim he had an A average. They would then take the school to court, claiming they were giving fraudulent degrees, because Lord knows Toonses is too busy sleeping to actually show up for classes, online or otherwise. Though come to think of it, Toonses may not be much different from the average undergraduate in many ways.
But it got me thinking that I could get online Ph.D.s for all of my cats. I'm never going to get mine--I have two Masters, and that's it--I have no energy for anything else. The Ph.D. that I actually want would require me to sell my house and enslave myself to an academic department for several years. In the end, I probably will totally overqualify myself for any real job, and will not get a job in academia because I've adjuncted for too long in my career. But my cats could get them, and I could brag about them the way everyone else does about their kids. ("Yes, Whiskers got her doctorate, and graduated top of her class for her dissertation on squirrel migration patterns.")

If I wanted it to be legit, I could look at those programs that give you credit for life experience. Based on their experience, I think my cats could get degrees in the following:

Shiva: Political Science, based on his extensive experience in blatant manipulation.
Joplin: Anatomy and Physiology, based on her experience in dissecting small rodents and leaving their body parts on my front porch.
Whiskers: Communication, based on her ability to specifically communicate such needs as, "I need immediate medical attention. My organs are falling out."

So, I'm going to look into degrees for my cats, or at least fake diplomas, which will still make them more educated than a lot of folks in my neighborhood (no offense to those folks--education isn't everyone's "thing", though I think some critical thinking skills do help.) Whether or not it will help them get real jobs and starting contributing to my income stream remains to be seen. They may be overqualified, and be stuck continuing to get rid of flies, mice, and cave crickets in my house to earn their keep. And alerting me to spiders. That's a big one.

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