Every once in a blue moon I think about what it would be like to have an advanced education, or more accurately, one or more of those little titles that go beside your name. Out of a family of four kids, I’m the only one who didn’t go to university, which is ironic since I’m smarter than all of ’em. However, at the end of high school, a small spark of rebelion inflamed my compliant little soul, and I skirted the the only designated path to higher education: a business degree. It wasn’t exactly a brave act — I ducked it with the alternative of working for a year or two before going to university. In an office. Oh yeah, I was I hellion.
Anyway, that was over 20 years ago, and I’ve done very well without, never ceasing to be relieved that I’ve gotten away with it so far. At one particular life cross-road, I came oh so close to applying for special consideration to a masters program in environmental studies. I had a pretty good shot at it, but the intimidating investment required together with an inability to overcome tribal programming ("what kind of a job will THAT get you???") pretty much sunk that particular ambition, and I retreated to the safety of more time served behind a desk.
When it comes to titles beside my name, though, here’s one I’d feel pretty darned good about: Master Gardener. Regrettably, if you are one, you’re not supposed to advertise the fact. I picture it as some kind of secret society, a horticultural version of the Shriners, but instead of funny caps with tassels you have to wear Tilly hats and muddy garden gloves to meetings, and give each other names like Lady Tulip and Grandmistress Buttercup. Our mission would be to do good works by raising money for community gardens and horticultural therapy institutions, and we’d have a bad reputation for unruly behaviour at international orchid shows.