They wanted me to be a dentist.
When I graduated college with a major in English Lit, I returned home for a weekend, and my parents looked concerned. English Lit? How would I make my way through this all-too real and sometimes cruel world, knowing nothing but the difference between a metaphor and a simile, an aphorism and an axiom, an allegory and a parable.
Where are the bicuspids? they asked. Show us the teeth in this plan.
"Oh, don't worry," I said, and patted their furrowed, worried brows. "Yes, yes, it's only an English Lit degree, but I've backed it up with a minor in Italian Cinema.
"And if that's not enough to impress you, next year, I'll go for my Masters in Philosophy -- emphasis on French Structuralism. I'll be studying whether Foucault, a known positivist, may not be an ordinary positivist at all. I know! You look amazed! We are all amazed! Because, paradoxically, he uses the tools of science to criticize science.
"Of course, structuralism is less popular today than other approaches, such as post-structuralism and deconstruction, and the emphasis on ambiguity, i.e., the ethics of ambiguity. If I can recall the words of Cornelius Castoriadis, when he criticized the practice of symbiotic meditation, and yes, it is at the tip of my tongue... "
My dad dropped off first, my mom followed soon after. We all slept well that night.