It surprises us.
Everybody's Dad is, at some point, bigger than life, of course, and the obituary tells tales of when men were men and giants still roamed the Earth. I'd been disowned by Bill Doyle twice (the second time lost its luster when I reminded him there was a first time), but few men were more generous.
Dad was born in Pittsburgh, the only child of parents who had emigrated from Ireland via Bolton. My grandfather started off here as a garbageman, and eventually managed an A&P. My grandmother made her tea every afternoon, no matter which war was being waged at the time.
They were poor. They moved a lot. My Dad was also extraordinarily short until late adolescence. Dad compensated with toughness.
Dad spent an evening with the Hells Angels MC in New York City. In their club.
Dad flew A4 Skyhawks off aircraft carriers; while showing off after maneuvers, he clipped a tree and lived to tell about it.
Dad gave his sons a lesson on how to break a bottle to use as a weapon. We were 9 and 10 at the time.
Dad broke his neck diving, and survived. He had friends, lots of them--one of them was an FAA certified physician. Dad flew a lot of passengers with a gimpy arm TWA never knew about.
Dad left a lot of skin on the pavement. He loved motorcycles; he loved flying even more. My guess is that his happiest moments were when he was airborne 2 feet over the pavement at 110 mph, having (again) separated himself from his bike at high speed.
Dad loved fighting--he didn't always win, but he never lost. ("Dad, I'll meet you back home.")
Dad loved the Marines and America because, as he put it, no other country in the world would let a poor boy from Pittsburgh fly million dollar aircraft just because of talent. (He's the Marine in full dress in the front row in Dr. King's March on Washington in 1963--another reason he loved the Marines.)
What does this have to do with education?
Oh, he managed to get an engineering degree from Villanova along the way (and never used it) as well as a law degree from Seton Hall, (which he barely used, though he did work for Roy Cohn a bit). He wasn't a great student, he was bright enough that he didn't need to be.
Last thing he wanted to do was to work in a box somewhere.
He loved the internet, and he could figure out to fix just about anything. His forte was critical thinking (and fun), not degrees and credentials.
I'm not saying credentials do not matter. I'm just saying some things matter more.
A4 Skyhawk photo lifted from Boeing, which grants noncommercial, personal use.