4 years of col­lege not only road to suc­cess

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN STEVE BECKER

DEAR ABBY: Do you think ev­ery Amer­i­can child should get a four-year col­lege de­gree? I keep meet­ing stu­dents who have a real tal­ent and pas­sion for other jobs — mil­i­tary, cos­me­tol­ogy or skilled trades, such as In­ter­net tech­nol­ogy and car­pen­try — but whose par­ents are fu­ri­ous at the sug­ges­tion they might not grad­u­ate from a four-year col­lege.

It’s a lit­tle-known fact that there ac­tu­ally is a short­age of skilled trades­peo­ple these days. As my grand­mother used to say, “Ev­ery­one needs a plumber when the toi­let’s clogged.” It dis­tresses me to see so many par­ents dis­re­gard their kids’ in­stincts about their skills and de­sired ca­reers in fa­vor of the “more school­ing is al­ways bet­ter” phi­los­o­phy.

Grad­u­at­ing from col­lege has been part of what we en­vi­sion as the “Amer­i­can dream,” but not ev­ery kid is go­ing to be ful­filled af­ter get­ting one of those de­grees when the jobs that go with it don’t ma­te­ri­al­ize. If a child wants to go into the mil­i­tary or be­come a skilled trades­per­son, par­ents should at least con­sider what they’re sug­gest­ing. Be­cause some­one chooses a ca­reer path that isn’t what a par­ent hoped for doesn’t mean he or she can’t be suc­cess­ful. — ANN AR­BOR READER

DEAR READER: I have had this dis­cus­sion with many peo­ple over the years, and I agree. While it is cru­cial that young peo­ple fin­ish high school, not ev­ery child is in­tel­lec­tu­ally in­clined. Many have tal­ents bet­ter suited to the trades.

Some bril­liant and suc­cess­ful peo­ple started but didn’t fin­ish col­lege. Many of them are in the arts and tech­nol­ogy fields. Eco­nomic re­al­i­ties be­ing what they are to­day, par­ents should be flex­i­ble and sen­si­tive to their chil­dren’s as­pi­ra­tions on this sub­ject. DEAR ABBY: For 20 years, my se­cret (to some, but not to oth­ers) in­volve­ment with a mar­ried man has kept me on an emo­tional roller coaster. We were both mar­ried at the time it be­gan, and it al­ways was un­der­stood that we would not leave our part­ners. Since then, how­ever, my mar­riage has bro­ken down.

Con­ven­tional wis­dom — expressed by friends, fam­ily and your col­umn re­peat­edly — has it that I should end this hope­less af­fair, get out and meet other men. I have made nu­mer­ous at­tempts, but have ac­cepted that he’s the only man I feel com­fort­able be­ing in­ti­mate with.

I don’t want him to leave his mar­riage. How­ever, his ob­vi­ous de­light in our af­ter­noon trysts does sug­gest his so-called “picture-per­fect” mar­riage doesn’t meet his needs.

This cou­ple presents a happy pro­file in our com­mu­nity. The urge to burst his hyp­o­crit­i­cal bub­ble is grow­ing within me with ev­ery pass­ing year. Would it be morally rep­re­hen­si­ble for me to let his wife know she has been made a fool of for the last 20 years? — SEETHING IN CANADA

DEAR SEETHING: Yes. Re­sist the urge. What makes you think his wife doesn’t know? Once more than two peo­ple know this kind of “se­cret,” word has a way of cir­cu­lat­ing. I see noth­ing pos­i­tive to be gained by try­ing to hurt the wife. And you may find it is not the wife who has been a fool for 20 years, but you.

A de­clarer should be will­ing to sac­ri­fice a trick if it in­creases his over­all chance of mak­ing the con­tract. Thus, if South makes ex­actly four hearts in the present case, he scores 620 points (at du­pli­cate or Chicago scor­ing); if he makes an over­trick, he scores 650; but if he goes down one, he is mi­nus 100. The 30 points de­clarer can gain by mak­ing five hearts are ob­vi­ously a drop in the bucket com­pared with what he can lose if he goes down try­ing for an over­trick.

Ob­serve how this ap­plies to to­day’s deal. South takes the di­a­mond lead with the ace and sees he could lose a spade, a club and an un­known num­ber of trumps. How many trump tricks he will lose de­pends on how the trumps are di­vided or on how he plays the suit.

At trick two, de­clarer plays the ace of trumps, on which East pro­duces the jack. If South care­lessly con­tin­ues with the king, he goes down one, los­ing two trump tricks, a spade and a club. But South should not play the king af­ter East’s jack ap­pears, since if the jack is a sin­gle­ton, the king play al­most surely will prove fa­tal.

De­clarer should rea­son that East started with ei­ther the sin­gle­ton jack or the dou­ble­ton Q-J. By lead­ing a low trump next, South can re­strict him­self to one trump loser in ei­ther case. This safety play will cost him a trick if East started with the Q-J, but South should be will­ing to lose 30 points to en­sure the con­tract.

In the ac­tual deal, if South de­cides to play safe and leads a low trump to­ward dummy at trick three, he loses only one trump trick — re­gard­less of which heart West chooses to play — and so fin­ishes with 10 tricks.

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