As Steve Nash Goes, So Goes The Last Remaining Self-Obsessed Straggler Who Finally Lets Go Of The Stupid Chip On His Shoulder

The Suns are playing the Jazz in about 15 minutes or so, and depending how it goes, Phoenix may be out of the playoff race.

Not that they were expected to do very well this year — the fact that they're still in the hunt with only two games left is pretty remarkable.

Besides the fact that I still root for Phoenix teams, I am rooting for Steve Nash and Grant Hill to win a NBA championship, something which neither player has accomplished. Both players seem like really wonderful, nice people, too. Grant Hill recently participated in the "Think Before You Speak" campaign. Steve Nash is into all manner of interesting, important stuff — soccer, directing films, saving children, speaking out against war. And Nash is 38 and Hill is 39, "old" for basketball but not old if you remember watching their respective college careers while you were in college yourself.

In fact, for quite some time I thought that I saw Nash in person while he played for Santa Clara. I had a distinct memory of watching him make a ridiculous number of three-point shots at the West Coast Conference tournament in 1992 while I was in school in Portland. I believed this until about a half-hour ago when I factchecked myself and discovered that Nash didn't start at Santa Clara until the 1992-93 season. The person I watched was Tomas Thompson, who played for the University of San Francisco Dons and was 8-8 for three-point goals, which was a new NCAA Division I record (since broken — see page two of this .pdf). So I was correct about something exciting happening. It just wasn't Steve Nash. Because he was still in high school then. (Tomas Thompson, in case you were wondering, seems to work as a PE teacher in San Jose now.)

My time in Portland, Oregon was limited to two "trimesters" at Lewis & Clark College. Shortly into the first "trimester," I realized that I probably made a bad choice about college. I'd tell you I realized this during an introduction to anthropology class, but I can't factcheck stuff like this, so I'd feel bad if I was mistaken. But I'll take a gamble and confirm that it was probably during intro to anthropology that I began to think that this educational experience probably wasn't worth what was being spent. I thought this because the instructor mentioned pretty early on that he taught the same class at the local community college. If you could get the same education anywhere, I reasoned, then it seemed kind of dumb to continue at a second-tier private school. Or so went my thinking.

That's not to say that the introduction to anthropology course wasn't really interesting, or that the instructor wasn't really good — it was and he was — after all, he was the one who tried to explain "culture" (and I'm probably paraphrasing) by announcing that "culture is a scam." What I think he meant by that was that culture is an arbitrary set of rules and rituals that humans impose on themselves to make order of things. It was one of those lines that seem so packed with meaning, you miss the rest of whatever someone says while you try to figure out what it could possibly mean. (Referred to — here and here — as a "Get Up and Get a Beer Line.")

Which is to say, I think it was just that this particular environment seemed too much like summer camp for me, especially back then, when I was much more earnest and probably more uptight about shit. I stuck around one more "trimester" just to be sure about my decision to leave. That was when I saw the WCC tournament on the University of Portland campus in March 1992. I had a good time that "trimester" hanging out with the Japanese foreign exchange students I dormed with, getting to see a lot of Portland and the region and seeing various shows. (I haven't been back to Portland since March 1992, which is why watching Portlandia is such a kick.)

In retrospect, attending Lewis & Clark was the best worst choice I could have made. If I had gone to Reed, I think I would have been that much more of a contrarian dickhead. If I had gone to Evergreen, it's possible I would have known Miranda July.

So I transferred to Arizona State University that fall and still graduated in four years. That made a lot more sense for me, and at that point in time, tuition only cost $1000 a semester. I think I saw that tuition is closer to $9000 a year there now. Still better than what Lewis & Clark apparently costs ($38,500 for 2011-12) or Reed ($42,800 for 2011-12) or even Evergreen ($18,978). With all due respect to people who graduated from places like these (some very close friends, even!), $42,000 a year is fucking idiotic.

That's not to say that a liberal arts degree from Arizona State is particularly useful in a job market like, say, the New York Metropolitan Region. Which is to say, I can't believe an employer — if they cared at all — would be very impressed with ASU. The only time I ever heard of anyone registering any particular reaction was when Jen got on a subway in Lower Manhattan one day and a guy yelled at her across the train that the only thing ASU teaches you is how to suck dick. Just a little Territorial Cup humor there; this guy went to the University of Arizona. Jen liked the old Sparky logo. It looked something like this, which is a T-shirt Goober bought for me, and which I understand is now seen as a "throwback" or "vintage" look, which should depress you just as much as the idea that you were in college when Steve Nash was still in high school:


They've since dismantled the Sparky elements on the uniforms, which was a pretty crappy thing to do.

The few times I've ever had to look at resumes I avoided looking at where someone went to school.

The Suns are down in the second quarter.

From time to time I thought about what I'd do differently if I was less of an idiot at age 18, which is quite the counterfactual. And as "fun" as it sounds to go to school in a "fun" city, I don't think I'd do anything differently. If anything, I feel even more strongly about not participating in such a corrupt undergraduate system. People are correct to complain about the student loan system, but the only logical solution is to either restrict subsidized loans to public universities or not have them at all. Or what if people stopped going to expensive private schools altogether? That would be something . . .

Of course, once you get past your first shitty job or past the age of whatever or just move on and don't have to think about what a degree confers, then it kind of doesn't really matter anyway. And then once you have a child of your own, you start to freak out about making sure he or she makes it into a quality school, if not a place like Northwestern then hopefully at least a Madison or Michigan, or perhaps even UVA, because if they don't get in or don't feel comfortable in a good small private liberal arts school then there are several top-notch public options east of the Mountain Time Zone — totally kidding!! Actually, you just forget once and for all why any of it — any of it — matters in the slightest (as it were).

The Suns are down at halftime. Back in March Steve Nash said that he wouldn't want to remain with the Suns if there wasn't "improvement", which to me means that making the playoffs is kind of a big deal for the franchise. Not that they're going to the finals or anything anytime soon, but still . . .

It's late in the third quarter and I should probably go to bed because I'll probably have to get up at some point soon and change a diaper or whatnot. Which is just as well . . .

Posted: April 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: M+/MR | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,