More words and more sex.

My parents first home in Australia

My parents first home in Australia

With luck most of my mornings are born with some positive thoughts that turn into a melancholic potpourri as the day progresses. Of course, with Milo the incorrigible JR Terrier on his special pillow next to me on the floor, makes for positivity no matter what nightmares one survived in those previous hours. It was hoped that with getting old, a kind of dull soothing numbness would give a deserved relief to being on a razor’s edge grappling with pasts that have gone. Not that there are many things that I ought to have regrets about but reflections still nag and refuse to lie down.

One of those is never having studied and gained a university degree. I am still overawed by anyone that has a degree, even if just a bachelor one. As for a PhD, I restrain myself not to shake hands or curtsy, offer to shoe-shine a PhD owner. It doesn’t matter when people tell me, all this glorifying of academia is grossly overrated and I should be satisfied with what I achieved. I married an academic, with a cum laude as well, but at times feel rotten, taking the credit as if somehow I was sitting next to Helvi during her studies at the Jyvaskyla university in Finland. It was so long ago. She did not speak much English and my Finnish consisted of one word ‘rakkaani’. We stumbled by in German, but love’s language is often simple, that one word Finnish poem sufficed, still does.

I read in Saturday’s paper a large full page ad from the University of New England. It exhorted the public to take up degrees in all sorts of studies. I went through all the options. How would it feel to hold a degree in Rural Science or bachelor of Criminology, Master of business? I could have studied medicine and spend years doing colonoscopies or alternatively, been a renowned dentist, looking at patients from the other end. A good lawyer; soothing warring couples in Family Court, while wearing a wig kept overnight in an Arnott’s biscuit tin. I could be walking through Law courts with a roped blue duffel bag slung (casually) over my shoulder and coughing significantly while passing an attractive , just minutes before walking out of chambers with her mint fresh decree nisi, fascinating divorcee.

We all know that men think about sex nineteen times a day and not as previously thought every seven seconds or so. It is also claimed that they think about food about the same number of times. In any case, in sex-thinking at least, it is twice as much common in men as it is in women. I think it explains a lot. When taken in consideration that most man also wake up daily with an erection, (or ‘boner’ in American English) it is surprising men get to do anything at all. How did they manage to become doctor, statistician or admiral?

As a growing roseate cheeked school boy totally taken in by sprouting first pubic hairs, my greatest fear was being called in front of class while suffering an un-abating relentless case of tumescence (boner in US). I used to feverishly conjure up about being rope- bound on a tram track being run over. I was too young still relating that to the opposite sex. That came later. I kept thinking pensively that ‘this’ has to finally go somewhere. It just has to. It can’t be for nothing. My mind was inquiring and curious. I remember pushing it against a door lock. But, one glorious day, I happen to look at a women’s magazine ( my mother’s). (Oh, I know, there is a lot there), and stared at an advertisement for a girdle. It rose magnificently again and all fell into place. The puzzle was solved. Even so, miraculously, I weaned myself away from girdles and moved over to gir(d)ls. It took some time though. I could so easily have ended up sleeping with underwear with buttons under my pillow.

Of all the possibilities that came after Rotterdam, my parents migrating away from home and culture did play a role. I worked and earned in the New Country, did alright, but no degree.

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47 Responses to “More words and more sex.”

  1. berlioz1935 Says:

    A degree would not help you now – not at all. You arrived at a stage where your wisdom and your use of the written word makes up for any degree. Look at your followers, many have a degree and still they understand you. Your understanding of humankind and their foibles is outstanding. At your age, a working mind is more important than a degree or an erection. Carry on with your insightfulness and keep sharing your thoughts – don’t despair.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      When I read it takes ten years to get a BA part time study or three years full time, I have to really think it over. Thanks a lot for your words of encouragement. In the end that is what counts for so much. I don’t worry about erections, it never got me a diploma, a cup of coffee, or made me better at writing words.

      Like

  2. auntyuta Says:

    This is so interesting, Gerard, that Helvi studied at university but you didn’t. Maybe you should get an honorary doctorate for your writing. In any case you turned out to be a wonderful word-smith. I think, this really does count for something!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you Uta. You and Peter are both good with words. I take my cap off. You are an example of living a life to the full.

    Like

  4. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Gerard, I don’t have any ‘ology’s either😦 I sympathise with you, sometimes it does make me feel crap that I’ve not got a degree but then I’ve never had an erection either – so I feel doubly cheated!! At least you can boast of having boners galore. I suppose the nearest I’ve got to that is a ‘wide-on’? Interestingly, though I lack various letters and initials after my name, all 3 of my husbands have been very clever. One went to Cambridge and became a leading name in Law and two of them had/have PhD’s.

    I leave you with this rather lovely quote from Winnie The Pooh……..

    “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. bkpyett Says:

    Dear Gerard, I’m sorry you feel this loss. Your writing is fantastic, it’s not too late to start writing that elusive novel. Your humour shines through. Have you read the Rosie Project? I think you’d enjoy the humour in that, and may it be would encourage you to give it a go! 🙂

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I haven’t read the Rosie Project but will after we take a break for a few days. I am more than happy to keep writing on WP blog and even happier for people to bother reading my words. I never even thought that that would happen. Thank you your encouragement.

      Like

  6. rod Says:

    Dang me, Gerard! Shakespeare didn’t have a degree. Mozart didn’t have a degree. Show me the academic who did even half as well as either.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that is what H is telling me too. She studied at a Finnish university and between us we have a number of languages. I have always been somewhat in awe of those with degrees. Perhaps it is unfounded, I mean bloody Abbott is a Rhodes scholar.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Carrie Rubin Says:

    No need for a degree–you have the wisdom that comes from experience, and that goes a long, long way. Of course, if you ever decide to get one, you might want to consider a degree in sexology.😉

    Like

  8. roughseasinthemed Says:

    I always expected university to be full of clever people. It was full of ordinary young men and women, like me. My partner’s only qualification is in decorating, but sometimes the early morning delights are more important the qualifications. And despite a poor education with no languages he’s perfectly competent in Spanish. I do think about another degree from time to time. But not seriously enough to do anything about it.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I did learn decorating too, marbling and graining, then a certificate in quantity surveying, a diploma in print making. Etching-lithography-woodcuts, life drawing and for a short while optometry.
      I left joining the army too late.😉

      Like

  9. greenwritingroom.com Says:

    I loved the way you segued from academia to sex. I spent a lot of years taking degrees. They were sometimes fun and sometimes dull, but there is no difference between the people who get them and those who don’t, other than the chance of birth/wealth/circumstance. While I was doing all that studying you were doing something else… almost certainly something more productive and probably just as entertaining or as dull.

    Like

  10. berlioz1935 Says:

    Here is an article from SMH about sex and old age.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/good-sex-not-the-preserve-of-the-young-20150311-140mwq.html

    Like

  11. Silver in the Barn Says:

    Gerard, I understand your feelings completely. I never went to college either for various reasons and have always felt an inferiority complex about it. As I got older, though, I discovered to my great surprise that the University of Autodidacts which I’ve attended all my life has served me well. I think I romanticize how much the college experience might have lent me. Still…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Big M Says:

    Gez, I can empathise. I dropped out of uni to do my nursing training in the hospital system. I now have graduate degrees from nursing and medical faculties. All nurses, physios, social workers, etc are now trained at uni, and now all of them seem to have learned f all about basic patient care. Moving the teaching of nursing, teaching, etc, into unis has done nothingto improve the quality of the graduate.

    PS I used to brag to Mrs M that I was friends with a famous artist, a Doctor Oosterman!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes , you have multi degrees? Big M is two doctors now. I am an auto dr.autodidact Oosterman.

      Like

    • algernon1 Says:

      The younger has a friend that is starting off as an Enrolled Nurse for that very reason Big. They had the ATAR to go straight into Nursing (but not at the Uni they hoped for) but wise heads whom they’d been working with suggested they’d be a better nurse in the long run taking that route.

      Like

      • Big M Says:

        When I trained, there were no university nursing courses. Now they all have bachelor and masters degrees, and I wonder what the F*&^ they actually learned. No high falutin’ anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, or even basic science (or spelling, for that matter).

        Like

      • algernon1 Says:

        If I recall it was a Year 10 entry that moved quickly to a Year 12 entry in the 70’s. Now it needs a high 80’s ATAR at some universities.There are TAFE courses of the 70’s that were similar entries are now university courses with big ATAR’s to boot, vocational courses that.

        Like

      • Big M Says:

        Annoying that the ter is so high for courses that teach f all.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        It seems that the degree is just another bit of paper. We came back yesterday from a short break, picked up Milo from the kennel just now. He was happy to be back. There is just nothing like a happy dog.

        Like

  13. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Most folks with high degrees can only wish to be half as articulate as you are Gerard. –Curt

    Like

  14. algernon1 Says:

    Gerard, I don’t think a Doctorate necessarily equates to competence or common sense. I know a young man, brilliant mind, no common sense whatsoever, Wouldn’t take a job with a particular firm because they went drinking ion a Friday night. His best chance of continuous work is doing research in University.

    I work with a few, they aren’t the most practical people I’ve ever worked with.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, you are right. I keep thinking on Abbott and his Rhodes scholarship. Does it come in a packet of corn-flakes?

      Like

      • Lorena and Chris Hunter Says:

        Rhodes scholarships are not necessarily about academic ability. There are all sorts of entry guidelines – like good works done in the community for example.. If you were a combatant Jesuit trainee monk who had once worked (as a part of your training) in an aboriginal community banging a hammer for a couple of weeks and suddenly thought “is this really my life” and gone to your mentor and said “get me out of here”, well, a clever mentor might say “become an Australian citizen and apply to Oxford as a foreign student, I’ll put in a good word for you, even though academically you are only average”. wink, wink.

        “Don’t let it get you down, it’s only castles burning, just find someone whose turning, and you will come around”. (Neil Young)

        Gerard, you found Helvi, a degree of good sense in that.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, you are right Chris and Lorena. A Rhodes scholarship isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. It was when the International Court of Justice in The Hague was about to enter a case brought by a woman seeking admission as a Rhodes Scholar in 1975 that the British administration relented and allowed women to be awarded Rhodes scholarships. The case was dropped. It was during the middle of female emancipation movement and the all male institution of Rhodes would have shown up badly as the misogynistic bunch it was then.

        http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1976/9/24/for-first-time-women-to-compete/

        Helvi is a degree on its own.
        A miracle of women-hood at its best. I am so lucky.

        Like

  15. Big M Says:

    Gez, with all of your published words, you’ve written three doctoral theses!

    Like

  16. sedwith Says:

    Gerard….you have nothing to prove. Your life is reflective and that gives meaning for you and those who read your work. Be proud that you got there by not being full of yourself. Read some of the work on academia.edu and you’ll see what I mean….join up its worth it there are papers on everything some great, some shite. You can upload and join the crew. As for me…..I just read whatever takes my fancy- no pressure. Academia is just another space for the same group of humans some worth reading some who should never have bothered writing anything. Blog away and be proud of your work its REAL!

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh I know. Try and read a thesis on the worth of cement in a building’s structure including how far structural steel should be away from the surface to prevent future concrete cancer and predictability in of how many years before the building becomes unsound and collapse. This all then relates to an insurance premium that might have to be raised large enough to exclude any possible loss.ZZZzzz,zzzz.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hung One On Says:

    I went to uni once Gerard, to drop Tutu off

    Like

  18. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, I always thought there is more to you Hung One On. I used to drop Helvi off to uni in Finland and look at me now?

    Like

  19. Master of Something Yet Says:

    I have a Bachelor of Science degree and a Graduate Diploma of Education. My husband left school after Year 12. He has achieved far more than I. Admittedly those achievements are chiefly in terms of society’s views of career, money and social status but there is no denying that I have not lived up to expectations.

    Seems to me you have achieved so much without a random academic piece of paper that is often not worth the paper it’s printed on. Certainly not the frame it’s in.

    Like

  20. Patti Kuche Says:

    There are only ever two sets of numbers on a tombstone Gerard, no qualifications and no earnings! Love reading your writing!

    Like

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