I got this comment to my ‘New York Times ‘Pick’ post:

“What a shame to believe that you go to college so you can go to work. That a non-science degree is a waste of time because doesn’t prepare you for a job in a science field?
How proud you must be, helping your daughter get an education that comes with so many strings attached? Rather than finding happiness in her work she has to go through an approved course of study, after all she’s your partner not your daughter. Very practical of you, it’s also funny that she had to come to ask you for help with college, where were you?

Guess what buddy a degree in engineering to learn to make sandals isn’t necessary either. It was a waste of money. By the way they’ve been making leather sandals in Mexico since the beginning of time; thank goodness you showed up with your engineering degree and showed them how to make the “best” sandals.

Just one piece of advice, you actually might publish something worth reading if you had an MFA. Just because you wrote a novel doesn’t make it worth reading, and just because you write a blog does it make it interesting or well written.
Who do you think your audience might be? Must be all science students? So thanks for the genius comment, looks like it’s time to take my name off your sub list, I think you’re down to 23 followers.”

My reply was:

“Ouch. If you were going to accuse me of anything it should have been for the shameless promotion of my sandals for which I am indefensibly guilty.

As to the rest – let’s start with the fact that the New York Times (and 20 other people reading the NYTimes) liked my comment.

And where was I, you asked, when my daughter asked me for money? Divorced, that’s where.

Financing your child’s education should come with strings attached. It promotes responsibility and accountability and reduces waste.

My engineering degree helped me earn a good living over the course of my career and it was a combination of saved money and frugal living that allowed me to do such things as move to Mexico to learn the craft of sandal making.

I didn’t ask for your advice but the fact remains that you don’t need an MFA to write a great novel; history is full of them.Getting published is an entirely different matter. But to the best of my knowledge you don’t need an MFA for that either.

Why do writers write? In the immortal words of my Singaporean counterpart (and great writer), Mike Loh, ‘I write for me’. And if you like it fine and if you don’t; feel free to move on.”

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