I read a story in the newspaper the other day, and a bright idea seeped into that deserted space I call my brain. Why do I not start suing all my old schools for not providing me with a real education?

The story in the newspaper explained that a New York mother was suing the nursery school of her four-year-old daughter for not putting said daughter firmly on the path to an Ivy League university.

If therein lies a lawsuit, who would be in a better position to start suing than me: 19 years in school, and the extent of my learning could still be written on a single sheet of paper. (Actually, not written but printed; I failed handwriting in Grade 6.)

When I look back upon my schooling, I find I did pick up some poetry and I can tell you with confidence that the curfew indeed tolls the knell of parting day. Not only that but surely “the lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea.”

And on the scientific side, I can tell you that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. And more math: the square of the Hippocrates is equal or nearly so to other squares in a right-angle triangle. If one looks for the basis of a lawsuit, one has to look no further than my final mark after five years of high-school Latin. That was 13 out of 100, and the fact that it was the highest mark in the class says something about the quality of teaching.

Armed with this education, I made my way into university. But I must tell you that entrance was much easier in those days. Especially if you had gone to a high school at which you had learned to play squash.

I leave out the name of the university because, as I look back, I realize I retain very little of what I may have learned. Although I think I might have remembered more had I gone into something such as medicine, for which you must know, for example, that the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone. (Using the Latin bone names, of course.)

If good times were the sign of a good university, then I did well. As far as I can remember, I was in general arts, which was supposed to make me well-rounded. I passed just enough courses to stay afloat and I departed the ivy-covered halls after four years. So, how well-rounded am I?

Well, in economics, I did learn Gresham’s Law, which states that good money drives out bad. Or possibly that bad money drives out good. Luckily, I’ve never had to use it.

In the field of a less dismal science, I took a course in biology and thus, for years, I carried around in my head the equation that demonstrates photosynthesis. I memorized it back then because I thought it might be on the final. It was, and I did squeak through. The equation stayed with me for a long time; but I never managed to work it into a conversation, and now it has gone.

Most of my university courses were some form of literature, and thus I can tell you that The Mill On The Floss is just as boring as Adam Bede. And that the novel Jude The Obscure is aptly named. My one undergraduate history course did arm me with the knowledge of just who won the battle of Tippicanoe Creek. (Although I am no longer sure of the spelling.) And I do know where the Vosges mountains are, but I’m a bit fuzzy on the Franco-Prussian War.

And that’s pretty much it for five years of university. “Aha,” you think, “Five years. He must have flunked one.” Nope, I never flunked, although I came within a whisker.

And here’s more grounds for a court case. After I left university, I realized my brain was pretty much still a blank slate, so I took my marks and made my way into -— hard to believe — graduate school at a university that thinks very highly of itself.

One year there taught me that I wasn’t cut out for higher education. I was barely cut out for any kind of education. All the same, if I had to do it again, I would sue my high-school Latin teacher. After all, 13 out of 100. Surely I’m better than that.

Or perhaps not. IE