I talked idly with the caretaker about the benevolence of vocational schools, of kids coming face to face with something gut-level real and of how annoyed I can get when the gown aspect of my community can look down on the townies who learn about land and responsibility. He had brought up four kids, all of them townies, and they were all college grads and that with honors. He told me that the cattle would dress out at about 60% of their current weight ... big heads and asses accounted for the loss in slaughtering.
I tested my feeling about voke schools on him -- that those whose hands are more compelling than their need for sonnets, can find something they love and then, because loving something drags any (wo)man deeper and deeper into the object of that love and like as not sets them on a path that includes a college education. Up the street from me, for example, a once-boy who positively hated books and book-learning found himself deeply in love with glass-blowing ... the sheer-ass artistry and beauty and creativeness of it all. Loved it.
But -- heads-up to the college-devoted -- there came a point where he wanted to commit his life to what he loved and in order to blow glass, in order to love fully and well, he was forced by the nature of the beast to go to college and learn the chemistry and physics that are part of glass-blowing. He went, he learned what love demanded he learn, and today he blows glass. Smarmy love is a step or two distant from knock-you-on-you-ass love.
I suppose those who go to college must in some proportion follow the same part in the opposite direction -- put up or shut up -- but their arrogance in the meantime can arouse the desire to punch someone in the nose.
Anyone can shovel shavings, it's true, but the notion that shaving-shoveling is somehow less (or more) that the wisdom and beauty of John Milton ... that's a speed bump worth getting over.
I suppose my out-loud theorizing was something the caretaker knew all about, but he also knew the patience of the Angus or the horse and he let this talking mule talk on. He said his piece when it was his turn and after a while I stopped nagging him with obvious shit.