The moral of the story is exactly what you might expect.

Last night, I had a prescient dream. As dreams usually go, it filtered through my mind in three distinct parts. In the first part, I made the acquaintance of a round, red-faced fat man known as Fat Face. He was quite effusive to me in our new friendship. For no reason at all, he gave me a $20 bill. I didn’t want to accept it, but he insisted again and again, telling me it was Christmas, and didn’t I need the money for my family? It’s a gift! he pronounced. Finally, I relented and took it because I had learned that not accepting gifts can be just as rude as not offering them to others.

In the second scene, I found myself in a dorm room with a frumpy tech geek, who looked very much like Hobie in The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang, as well as a tawdry half-rate prostitute whom an unknown party had paid to seduce the unsuspecting geek. I was caught in the middle, but judging by the look of boredom on the prostitute’s face, she wasn’t about to put her best effort in the job, thereby rescuing me from revolting tawdriness. In fact, she was so bored that she left the room, telling me to take over where she’d left off. Of course, that held no appeal for me, which necessarily brought me to the third phase of the dream.

An unknown and petty gangsta slammed in the room to inform me that Fat Face had sent him to collect. As persuasion, he shoved a revolver in my face.

“Collect what?” I asked.

“The money you borrowed, plus interest.”

“I didn’t borrow anything.”

“Tell that to Fat Face!”

No amount of argumentation could dissuade the thug from treating me as a worthless debtor. Fat Face is my friend; there’s some mistake, I iterated and reiterated. That $20 bill was a free gift! Regardless, the thug dragged me to Fat Face’s house, which was an old, tidy farmhouse made out to be a Victorian. I perched on a worn but stately couch, and I waited for Fat Face to show his face and vindicate me.

He didn’t–vindicate me, that is. His once friendly round-cheeked face turned hard. He insisted I owed him $80 now because the $20 debt had immediately quadrupled as soon as I had accepted it. That unpleasantness now over, he sat across from me for a friendly chat, the threat of violence receding in the background with the gangsta. Instead, the room was suddenly filled with men who were indentured servants to Fat Face; they had all borrowed from him, and it was impossible due to the economy to pay the money back. A few of the men sat on the couches around me and shouted orders at the actively working men, but it was clear to me that they were indentured servants, too. They were indentured servants called managers, and yet servants, nonetheless.

At that point, my mind began to waken, and in its surreal half-sleep state, I saw the men as braying donkeys. I explained to myself that they were like Pinocchio, who had taken the bait when told he could play all day in Toyland, and had, instead, woken up a donkey and been forced to endure hard labor. Further, I explained to myself that this was exactly what university students did when they took the government’s “free” money. The debt and its subsequent, compounding effects on society would force them into servitude until they died.

The moral of the dream–I logically deducted, as I was now fully awake–was this: If you attend college in the usual way, you’ll come out the other side an ass.

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