Dear Annie: I just found out that my brother, who I thought was in graduate school studying to be a teacher, is actually working as a prison guard. I’m the only one in the family who knows. When I phoned him to get the details, he told me that he’d quit school after one semester because he never really wanted to be a teacher. He said our parents bullied him into graduate school when he had trouble finding work after his college graduation. Prison guard was the first job he could get.
I asked him why he is leading this double life. He said our parents told him that graduate school was “not negotiable.” So he figures they can live with their delusions. At family dinners, Mom and Dad ask him about school, and he says, “Fine, but dull.” Then they drone on and on about the importance of attending school since he couldn’t find a job, and our grandfather makes a point of telling him how easy he has it compared to serving in Korea. Like we care. If they don’t want to hear what my brother says, they shouldn’t ask.