Last updateMon, 21 Jan 2019 12pm

Open letter: So you want to go to school...

A friend of mine once complained bitterly about working in an industry he thought was taking advantage of people and their pain and anguish, physical and psychological. The industry was Big Pharma.

And my friend just one day upped and quit his job and big salary. He’s now a veterinarian, and happy as a lark.

Mexican media has reported recently that there are actually schools that teach young aspirants how to be narcos. Now, this raises a lot of questions.


Is there an entrance exam?

Is there a tattoo requirement?

Do you need a familiarity with Greek and Latin?

Can you minor in theater?

Are the dorms co-ed?

Do you need a certain grade point average to join the debating club?

I would like to say to these young hombres, “There’s more to life than getting into bad news stories all the time. Yeah, you make big headlines, but so do tsunamis, rising gas prices and Planet of the Apes movies.”

Is it really worth it, just to wear a few gold trinkets and drive in fancy cars with good looking women, when you could wind up spending 20-30 years in a jail cell looking up wide-eyed at a guy proposing marriage with a retooled kitchen utensil?

There are plenty of other educational opportunities. Youth is potential. And Mexico’s future has extraordinary potential for coming generations – you and your hijos. But it needs stand-up patriots like yourselves. And a career choice where “getting away” means a trip to the beach.

Did you know you could study German history, maize and wheat sustainability, Flemish baroque art, political history of Uruguay, comparative religions?  And that’s just a few of the options.

Or, if you’re not the studious type, there are other options. Find a nice, safe job like driving a cab, for example. You’re meeting new people all the time. You’re traveling. You’re free as a bird. If you want to stop and spend some time with the ladies, you’re there, without having to duck into a tunnel at the sound of a siren.

And instead of drugs, there’s yoga and meditation – the new channels to blissfulness. And it doesn’t come in “hits.” This happiness is ongoing and largely a function of uninterrupted, glowing self-esteem. Now, you’re probably thinking, this writer’s conning me. He has no proof of this.

False. Science magazines such as Psychiatric Times show studies that indicate self-esteem activates the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and, believe it or not, the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala, all creating a rally of endorphins. And get this: multiplying by millions your dendrites and synapses. I’m not making this up. I’m not that smart.

This neurophysiology is the mother’s milk of blissfulness. There’s more to this. Self-esteem can be a legacy, something handed down to children and celebrated for generations in great photo albums of yourself and your loved ones goofing around in selfies. Memories your children will cherish.

There’s more still: science tells us that the happier you are, the longer you’re going to live. Not only that, but the happier you are, the more people are going to like you and invite you on fishing trips. There’s no downside to this.

Still got some bad feelings? Rage? Frustration? Envy? Just take a moment to rethink those emotions. When you’re feeling upset, this shouldn’t lead to “Where’d I leave my Glock?” That’s not how to handle feeling pissed.

Feeling angry will hurt you more than it hurts the guy you want to bash. Instead, think, “I’m going to reward myself by stopping for an ice cream and a quiet moment at the plaza. This re-imaging of an emotion can then set you on the path to humor and tranquility and even loving kindness. Relax and enjoy your helado. I recommend the Dutch Chocolate.