Distractions for a lifeguard are many. The echos of children splashing in the pool, for instance, rarely allowed Trevor an opportunity to think. Not to mention the constant need to protect the little cretins from drowning. Oh well, thought Trevor, it’s a job.
After the pool closed for the day, Trevor caught up with Alicia, another lifeguard. “I was doing some figuring,” he said.
“I have a Bachelor’s degree, right?”
“Me, too,” said Alicia.
“That’s what I mean. We both went to university, did the higher education thing,” said Trevor.
“How much did your degree cost?” asked Trevor.
“I dunno. Never thought about it,” said Alicia.
“How much is your student debt?” asked Trevor.
Alicia looked to the ceiling as she did some quick figuring. “About twenty-eight thousand, I think. Something like that.”
“I’ve got just under twenty-five,” said Trevor.
“Not really,” said Trevor. “Now, what’s your degree in?”
“My major was English literature,” said Alicia.
“I took history with a minor in sociology,” said Trevor.
“What’s your point?” asked Alicia.
“How long have you been a lifeguard?”
“I got my Bronze Cross when I was 16.”
“Exactly. And it probably cost, what? A thousand dollars total?”
“I guess. What are you suggesting? That university was a waste of time and money?” asked Alicia.
“Are you working in the field of English lit? Does that even exist?” asked Trevor.
“No, but you aren’t, either,” said Alicia, defensively.
“I know. That’s what got me thinking. I’ve basically wasted four years and twenty-four thousand dollars just to become a lifeguard, something I earned before I went to university in the first place. Weird, eh?” said Trevor.
Alicia scowled. “Hilarious.”
“I mean, what’s all the fuss about university? It’s not like it’s all that useful anyway. It’s a big scam.”
“I think university is important,” said Alicia defiantly.
“How can you say that? What’s university actually done for you?”
Alicia glared at Trevor, then dove into the pool. When she resurfaced, she turned to Trevor. “I’m going for swim. You’re too depressing for me.”
Trevor sighed. “The truth is often depressing.”