She was on a tear. Barreling through the showroom, she screeched to a halt in front of every chest of drawers, then yanked open and slammed shut every drawer. Clearly, she was in a fury and our poor furniture was taking the brunt of it.
Off to the side stood her teenage son, with tousled hair and a scruffy beard, feigning boredom. He yawned and studied his phone, pointedly ignoring the commotion his mother was making. His nonchalance seemed to infuriate her even more.
Hoping to defuse a potential explosion – and protect the furniture – I ventured over to the woman and discreetly paused nearby, trying to look helpful and sympathetic. She turned, blew her hair out of her eyes, and let out an exasperated sigh.
“He’s moving off campus,” she said. “He needs a dresser for his apartment.” Then, her voice got louder and her tone got sharper, apparently in an attempt to pierce his adolescent armor of phony deafness. “And,” she said threateningly, “he also needs to pick a damn major!”
Then, she hurled the final verbal spear at him. “I’m not paying for an extra year of college!”
He yawned again.
As the father of three boys, one of whom is starting college this fall, I watched the interaction with horror. Suddenly, I feared for my future. Five years of tuition payments?!? Per kid? That wasn’t part of the financial plan! I wanted to pummel the kid with pillows from a nearby couch. His indifference was maddening.
After a few minutes, I relaxed. Of all the choices we make in life, picking a major in college is one of the least consequential. I was an English major at the University of Kentucky. Now, I‘m the proud co-owner with my wife Diana of Furniture Consignment Gallery.
Even FCG has changed majors. Years ago, we majored strictly in traditional furniture. Now, we major in contemporary, mid-century, country and more. And our customers love the diverse selection.
I wanted to offer those tidbits of wisdom to the irate mom, but one look at her told me my comments probably wouldn’t cool her fury. But I did decide to have a talk with my college-bound son that night. Here’s what I’m planning to say: “Pick a major, kiddo, any major. You’ve got four years to study and have a good time – and not a minute more.”