When my grandfather was forty or so, was diagnosed with a gastric ulcer. At that time, in the 60s, the way to treat such disease was pretty straightforward: they used to chop off the entire stomach, and that was it. That resulted in my grandfather eating bread soaked in milk for years until his body was able again to digest more complex food.
At the age of twenty-nine I was diagnosed with the same disease. I swallowed one big pill every day for a week, and that was it. The little bug was eradicated forever, gone, adios.
When my grandparents moved from Sicily to the north of Italy, their possessions were limited to the rags they were wearing. They farmed a family out of the dirt they were plowing, and my mother and I had the opportunity for a higher education.
It didn’t just happen to my family. This story is typical among most of the people I have known in my life, and we should never forget how tough it was to put bread on the table with the good willing of building opportunities for the following generations.
My grandfather also believed that education was the key to social justice, so he did all he could to send us to school. It was very hard convincing him that dropping off college it was the best choice for me. He didn’t live long enough to appreciate that decision, but I’m sure he would be understanding now.
The idea of refusing scientific advancements, taking our status for granted, and see education just as a way to find a job is the “modern absurd.”