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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners: Slacker-turned-academic doesn’t fit in back home

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Growing up, I was a bad student. I messed around so much, it felt like my entire childhood, I was being chased by school officials or my parents. I was lucky that my parents were educators who exposed me to the world, but I did not graduate from high school and never read a book until adulthood.

This all flipped when I was around 20, and I wound up earning five degrees. (The first one was really tough and painful to get!) I really enjoy the new interests I’ve been exposed to and the things I’ve learned. Most of the time, my very educated friends feel so enriching to be around.

But sometimes when I go back home, old friends or acquaintances who are not as educated will call me weird for the way I talk about or see the world. It feels a little like an insult – like I am weird for knowing there are 2 trillion galaxies. It’s just odd to be chastised for knowledge.

There is something beautiful about knowledge, and it just seems so normal to me. I am sure down deep inside, they feel inadequate at times, but it feels odd for me to address this. I honestly do not know what to say when it happens.

GENTLE READER: Remember when you said that first degree was really tough? Miss Manners encourages you to ask yourself why.

Did everyone around you seem smarter? Were some even sanctimonious about your ignorance on certain subjects?

No doubt, you never called them weird, and therein lies the difference. But if you can be patient with your less-educated friends, the way your parents and educators were with you, it might similarly inspire them.

If all else fails and your enthusiasm is still not catching, you may innocently say, “Oh. I thought it was cool, not weird. But I guess that’s subjective.” And then resist defining “subjective.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a fan of a local sports team, and I have a friend with season tickets. Any time they are unable to attend, they offer to sell me the tickets.

The problem is that they want to sell them to me at full price when I can easily go online and purchase tickets on the secondhand market for much cheaper. This makes me feel taken advantage of.

When we come together later to talk about the game, I am uncomfortable lying and pretending like I didn’t go, but I am also uncomfortable telling them that their asking price for the tickets is unreasonable. What is my best approach to this situation?

GENTLE READER: “I was able to go after all, and found tickets elsewhere. Now how about that seventh inning?

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website www.missmanners.com.