What is College For?


A few days ago, I received a group email sent to the surviving members of my undergraduate college class announcing—boasting—that the class gift from our sixtieth reunion had been the primary contribution for a golf training facility at Rutgers University. A photograph of the plaque honoring our support accompanied the message.

According to a press release celebrating the Class of 1957 Training Center:

The state-of-the-art, two-room facility features indoor putting space with Envyscapes turf and a hitting bay with Swing Catalyst technology, allowing student-athletes from both teams to train year-round. “This is a game changer for our student-athletes to be able to train right where they live,” said men’s head coach Rob Shutte . . . “On behalf of the entire men’s golf team, we can’t thank the supporters enough who made this facility a reality.”

The nature of that class gift and the pride with which it was offered fed into my ongoing ponderings about the purpose of college, a subject much debated at a time of Covid-19, when many campuses have turned to remote teaching, when many colleges worry about survival, when many current students resent and even sue over the high tuition for online learning, and when many graduates and dropouts complain about the lifetime burden of college debt and low-paying jobs.

During the many years I was an idealistic academic faculty member, I would have shaken my head at such a class gift, wondering what golf had to do with a college education. Now I’m not so sure. Was the real reason for sitting in classrooms, passing exams, and writing papers for four years the ability to devote future decades to lingering on the links? Not that my fellow students could even have imagined such a future in our youth.

I realize that my classmates and I—those of us lucky enough to still be alive in our mid-eighties—enjoyed a very different college experience from that of later and current generations. We coveted tweeds and foulards, turned out papers on manual typewriters, made calls from payphones, and rarely owned our own cars, not even expecting to. And at Rutgers College in the mid 1950s, we were all male. Women attended Douglas College a few miles across town, making a welcome presence at Saturday-night fraternity parties, even though they had to be back in their dorms for a midnight curfew.

We also represented a small percentage of high school graduates, among the less than ten percent who completed college at the time. (By 2019, the rate was thirty-five percent.) Many of us came from working class families with little spare income. Fortunately, tuition was low, and some—like me—had scholarships. For a number of my friends, that scholarship and summer and part-time jobs covered all our expenses. We graduated with no debt.

Not only that, but job opportunities were aplenty. It was a peak of the post-war economy with burgeoning management positions and a competition by businesses to fill them with college-educated people, primarily male. My classmates ended up with very successful careers, the majority who did not become doctors or lawyers retiring after years in upper management of large corporations. The sons of blue-collar fathers gravitated into the upper middle class. They lived—and continue to live—the good life, many with second homes that became the sites of their retirement, in a number of cases just a few steps from a golf course.

Those hours on pristine green lawns, focused on sending a small ball into a tiny hole, then back to the club house for a few drinks, and occasionally a few hours later for an evening meal, explain to me the class eagerness to support the golf training center. My classmates were happy to spread the beneficence of their success and the hope that today’s young students will share similar good lives in the future.

And that’s been the dream of students in the decades since we were undergraduates—a version of the American dream. The degree a passport to a good job, a large house, a luxury car, travel, and top-of-the-line golf clubs. While our high school classmates who didn’t attend college earned less, lived in smaller homes, drove ordinary cars, traveled more locally, and bowled instead of golfed, they still owned those homes and cars, paid their bills, and prepared their children for the aspirations of college.

Then the economy changed. Well-paid manufacturing jobs began to vanish. Workers became commodities in the drive to maximize corporate profits, victims of management decisions that may have been made on a golf course. Rather than an option, college became a necessity. Without a degree, you could kiss your future good-bye. The statistics are well known—the increasing gap in lifetime earning of those with and without college, the lower rates of marriage and higher of divorce, the greater chance of unemployment, the debt, depression, and drug overdoses.

For millions of young people that’s what the purpose of college had become, winning in a zero-sum game, all or nothing. But even that no longer holds with unaffordable tuition, accumulated debt, lower salaries, with jobs that were once held by high school graduates—that displaced group dropping even further down on the social and economic scale.

More and more today it’s being asked if college is worth it, if instead our society could provide more efficient and effective alternatives to gain skills for well-paid jobs and even long-term careers.

I consider the dilemma from a perspective quite different from that of economists and politicians. My classmates’ golf gift led me to think about my life in comparison with theirs, even though we shared a very similar undergraduate experience sitting in the same classrooms. Many of them got better grades—probably because they were smarter. The degree of my difference took several years to occur to me.

In addition to being a non-golfer, I’ve ended up living a life much unlike that of my classmates, though I started out like them immediately after graduation when I accepted an offer to become an advertising and sales trainee at General Electric in Schenectady, New York. That’s where I had my one and only adventure on a golf course, the Edison Club for management employees. With borrowed clubs, I churned divots in the green and whacked balls into the rough.

But it wasn’t this humiliation that made me decide within a few months I didn’t want a career as a corporate executive. I surprised myself by deciding to do something that had never occurred to me as an undergraduate student. I would apply to graduate schools, unsure of whether any would want me. It turned out to be my good luck to get into one that allowed me to immerse in Modernism while writing fiction, ending up with the degree for a career as an English professor.

My income ended up being far less than that of my successful classmates, but I can’t complain. Money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Still, I acknowledge that in comparison to them I’m an oddball, having developed a very different assumption of what college is all about.

Taking an image from Tristram Shandy, I was one of a small group of those riding our hobby horse of obsession with books and ideas, cramming new volumes onto overloaded shelves, quoting lines and passages, parsing insights. My faculty colleagues and I labored under the delusion that the world shared our egghead perspectives, that our true mission was to lead our students into sharing our obsessions.

Some of those students may have considered us with a benign amusement, like watching kitten videos. A few may have been momentarily awed during office visits, as in, “Did you read all those books?” At fraternity parties, in my day, we sang ribald songs about our professors, affectionately mocking their mannerisms. But we did our assignments without complaint. Now, in this era of grade inflation, a good number of students seethe at faculty they consider unfair in their assignments and grading policies.

Several years ago, I had an illumination when watching episodes of a Showtime documentary series that followed a group of freshmen at the University of Texas—Austin, supposedly the most selective of that state’s public institutions.  It may be the results of those who edited hours of footage, but this group of eighteen-year-olds talked of nothing but parties and whether he or she really liked me, moaning over unrequited crushes and dateless Saturday nights. Not once did one say something like, “I really had this great lecture on Jung’s collective unconscious.”

But it wasn’t like that when I was an undergraduate. In addition to the drive of hormones, my contemporaries in their pre-golfing days could discuss a book or debate an idea. I recall sharing notes with a friend taking a political theory course where we read whole books by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and a few others. Overall, most of us were aware of what we should know, authors we should have read, ideas we should know about, a bit guilty that we didn’t.

Yet as much as I was eager to learn, I was easily distracted, more drawn by hanging out with friends, extracurricular activities, falling in love, falling out of love, going to movies, decorating fraternity floats, reporting for the campus paper, listening to music, playing cards, watching occasional TV.

But maybe that wasn’t so terrible.  Perhaps the real purpose of college for us, whether we knew it or not, was to enable us to grow up and become adults. More than information gained, fulfilling course requirements taught us focus and discipline. Interacting with a variety of people brought us lifelong friendships and appreciation of others, the ability to get along. These are the attributes that helped my classmates succeed in their professions and earn the luxury of golf.

Defenders of an education in the liberal arts have long emphasized the path to greater critical thinking and problem-solving. That too has been important for their high earning. And I’ve also noted a generalization I can make about most who have gone to college, even those who sailed through with minimal effort. They possess a fuller sense of systems, how things connect, than many who did not attend. They are better able to cope with the world around them.

The experience of living on campus or in housing near campus, having to manage your young life without relying on parents, served as a crucial step to self-reliant maturity. College was a rite of passage.

It still is for some, or will be again when Covid-19 is behind us. But those some are no longer young people like me, emerging from a blue-collar world. College—the campus experience—costs far too much for offspring of the shrinking middle class, just about impossible for those of the working class. College perpetuates and exacerbates the growing income and social gap so destructive to American society. It’s doubtful that I and a large number of my golfing classmates would be able to attend today, certainly not living on campus with minimal part-time jobs, filling their days and nights with socializing and occasional study, preparing for a future of fulfilling careers and the good life. Or ending up as an oddball egghead with book-crammed shelves.

The educational experience of the future is likely to be very different from mine and even from that of recent years. College is likely to play a shrinking role with the emphasis on developing specific occupational skills for the workforce. That has been the tendency of many existing universities, closing down majors in philosophy and history, minimizing literature to focus on basic writing. Who can afford to devote hours to discussing books and ideas when the accumulation of practical abilities is what matters to prepare for the world of work, when employers demand those abilities?

Writing in Inc, Parul Gupta, co-founder of Springboard, a provider of online courses, predicts that “Tangible skills will replace credentials, and learning will be lifelong.” She predicts a continuation of remote education taught by mentors who are professionals and hiring managers in touch with the demands of the workforce. Instruction will be personalized, and students will learn at their own pace with individualized feedback. “The next-generation of higher education,” she proposes, “will be designed to teach the needed ‘on the job’ skills, as well as provide opportunities for real-world experience.”

Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass, an anti-market conservative group, writing in The New York Times, argues that much of the $150 billion spent on public subsidies to college students every year is wasted because only a fraction of young people even complete college, many of those needing additional “trade school” to qualify for a job. He calls for half of the $150 billion to be transferred from higher education to “programs that foster employer-trainee relationships.”

Even though Gupta and Cass represent particular social and political perspectives, they share some basic assumption with many university administrators seeking long-term survival of their institutions. A future competition may break out between those hoping to preserve their campus environments and those businesses happy to provide skills instruction to remote students from far-flung keyboards.

What I enjoyed during my four undergraduate years is likely to become a luxury.  Except for the occasional athletes who bring in sports revenue, the residential college experience will be limited to the already privileged, progeny of parents at home on the soft turf of golf courses, sons and daughters perfecting their inherited swings and putts in a state-of-the-art training facility.

I wonder when our society achieves a point where the affluent are all under par and the rest are relegated to mastering skills for gainful employment, if we won’t have lost something indefinably vital.  Those completing what may still be called higher education will no longer receive even minimal exposure to the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Adam Smith, Dickens, Austen, Woolf, Toni Morrison, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Kierkegaard, Keats, Keynes, and Shakespeare.

That lament may be my sentimental throwback to Matthew Arnold’s “the best that has been thought and said.” Much more troubling for the larger society is the threat of an exacerbated class gap, an educated few manipulating a majority of worker bees, men and women shaped to fill slots determined by those who decide which skills should be the primary subjects of a corporate or university training system. It would be a different sort of throwback, in this case to a version of the assembly line, one without time clocks but workers still relegated to roles as functionaries.


Photo at the top of the page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutgers_University#/media/File:Clock_on_the_campus_of_Rutgers_University_(2012).jpg

Phantom Teeth

Photo by Umanoide

Using Zoom while living under the Covid-19 quarantine caused me to face something that I don’t face most of the time: my face. There it was, always looking back at me from my laptop screen. Even when I’m brushing my teeth or shaving, I only scan portions of it to make sure I don’t leave toothpaste or stubble on my chin. For the most part, it’s a perfectly fine face, I suppose. Granted, it’s not George Clooney’s, but it’s not poor John Merrick’s, either. So what’s my issue with it? Well, I guess it’s how cheerlessly it tends to rest on my skull, no matter my mood.

The common—and unabashedly misogynist—term for my condition is “Resting Bitch Face,” which, according to the irrefutable Urban Dictionary, is a term used to describe “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.” The 2013 video by writer and actress Taylor Orci that broke this term nationally also delineated the male analogue, “Resting Asshole Face,” but this term failed to gain similar cultural traction (after all, it’s always much more fun to laugh at and judge women than men, right?). Nevertheless, whatever you choose to call it, I’ve got it. I occasionally hear about it from others (What’s wrong? You okay?), but certainly much less than actress Kristen Stewart would still hear about hers even if she were a telemarketer in Lima, Illinois. Autocorrect, however, makes sure to remind me every time I type my last name because it always changes it to “Grouchy.”

Why do I have this naturally sullen look? Genetics must have played a part, but neither my mother nor father has it. Age has played a part, too, no doubt; thanks to gravity’s effect on the flesh of every living body, my already downturned mouth has undoubtedly turned down further after five decades of being tugged relentlessly toward the center of the earth. Nonetheless, it was still fairly firmly set by the time I reached my late teens—enough so that, when the editors of my high school yearbook asked the question “How Could Seniors Every Forget ____,” one of the “unforgettable” things noted was “Kevin Grauke always being bored.” How bored had I been back in 1987? No more than your average senior in high school, I would imagine. Most likely, whoever it was who had thrown this one onto the list hadn’t meant “being bored” at all. Instead, if they could’ve slipped it past the faculty advisor, they probably wanted to submit “Kevin Grauke looking pissed-off about something,” since that would’ve been more accurate, and it’s what I’ve struggled with not looking too much like as an adult.

For years, I marveled at how easily other people could smile at acquaintances and strangers alike, especially in friendly Texas, which is where I grew up. I’ve tried to do this myself, and I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but I still can’t be sure since I can’t really run after someone and ask whether the face I made just a second ago as we passed each other looked normal to them. Or, did it look like more an animatron shorting out? Why has it always been such a struggle for me, this seemingly simple skill, the innocuous greeting-smile?

I don’t remember when exactly I realized the most likely answer to this question, but when I did, it hit me hard, as all true things do when they hit. Smiling was difficult for me because of the former state of my mouth. My school portraits from elementary school through sixth grade trace the progression of what would technically be referred to as my severe malocclusion. In other words, I had a substantial overbite. In still other words, I had buck teeth. My classmates regularly called me such clever names as Beaver, Bucky, and Bugs Bunny. My two front teeth protruded so far that, like elbows on a table, they rested on my lower lip whenever I wasn’t talking or eating. To keep this from happening, I grew accustomed to sealing my lips together over them, but because this was not how my mouth ever naturally rested, maintaining this seal required conscious effort. I grew silent in order to maintain the illusion of keeping my teeth genuinely hidden.

My parents, God bless them, sought orthodontic help as soon as my enormous permanents burst through. My tiny mouth quickly became a crowded mess. Even before having my wisdom teeth peremptorily cut out, Dr. Wise pulled four permanent teeth as well as a few tenacious baby teeth in order to make a little room. Although braces didn’t come next, when they did come, in 1979, they came in a fashion that today’s orthodontic patients would probably not consider humane. Substantial stainless-steel brackets were glued to my teeth and then connected to each other with arch wires that were tightened monthly by Dr. Wise’s uncomfortably pretty assistant. Until they eventually grew callused, the tender insides of my lips and cheeks regularly julienned themselves.     

But what came before (and then stayed, still most unwelcome, during) braces was something truly horrible: headgear. For those of a certain age, please recall Anthony Michael Hall’s character in the disturbing date-rape-played-for-laughs scene from 1984’s Sixteen Candles in which he wakes up in the backseat of a convertible with the beautiful, hungover Caroline. Hall is wearing (my identical) headgear—the sort that strapped around the neck to form Saturn’s dorkiest ring, not the sort that strapped across the crown of the head—for the only time in the film in order to amplify the hilarity of Geek (as he’s identified in the credits, though he’s also sometimes referred to as Farmer Ted) taking advantage of a drunken cheerleader handed over to him by her fed-up hunk of a boyfriend, Jack Ryan, who now prefers Molly Ringwald’s Samantha. Unlike Geek, however, and unlike everyone whom I’ve ever met who has told me their own particular horror story of having to wear headgear, I had to wear mine not just at night but around the clock, including at school, that magical place where anything that ever distinguishes you from others—whether it be a stutter, hand-me-downs, or a birthmark—is always accepted unconditionally. I’ll allow you to imagine on your own the unconditional acceptance that I received, although I would be remiss not to honor my most compassionate classmates, who made sure to explore every possible way that less benevolent classmates might try to cause me severe injury by pulling my headgear’s inner bow from its slots on my teeth while my neck strap remained fastened, thus transforming its now-untethered ends into deadly projectiles to launch toward the back of my throat like dual arrows from a crossbow.

By the time I reached seventh grade, my teeth were genuinely beautiful. Perfect, in fact. I’d also gained some much-needed weight and traded in my long chili-bowl haircut for gloriously feathered wings. Life improved dramatically. While it’s true that I didn’t suddenly become fabulously popular, I did blend in unobtrusively for the first time, which is all I had ever wanted. You might even say that I actually flourished in high school, but I realize now that, in less physical ways, a certain degree of irreparable damage may have already been done. Though I had certainly become more confident and comfortable in the world once I had been freed from Dr. Wise (whose eyes I can still see peering at me over half-moon glasses), internally I was still very much the skinny boy who always did his best to keep his lips sealed firmly over his massive choppers. This meant that I still found myself instinctively not smiling or laughing at things that I might otherwise have smiled or laughed at. It also still meant mostly speaking only when necessary. In summary, it meant that I remained always turned more inward than outward.

I’ve always assumed that these introverted traits of mine came naturally, that I was born this way, so to speak, and maybe this is still true, but maybe it’s not, either, at least not entirely. It’s that age-old debate, of course, nature versus nurture—yadda yadda yadda. Regardless, here I am, the same as I’ve always been, seen more than heard whenever I’m beyond the comfortable confines of my home, but then the world changed virtually overnight, compelling all sensible folk to wear facemasks in public to prevent the further spread of a death-dealing virus. No one liked doing this—masks were uncomfortable, especially in the heat of an unrelenting summer, plus they forced you to smell your own sour breath with every inhalation—but everyone except the ignorant and the brainwashed knew it was for the best.

As did everyone, I imagine, I felt strange wearing one at first, self-conscious, but I got used to it. Afterward, I came to realize something: never had I felt quite so comfortable, quite so relaxed, walking down the street as I did then, covered—hidden—from chin to eyeball. This is not to say that I’m not happy that we’re getting closer to life returning to something like normal, because I definitely am. However, I’d be a liar by omission if I didn’t also acknowledge that it was nice having nobody able to see my Resting Bitch/Asshole Face and possibly wondering what the hell my problem was, nice not having to try to smile like more comfortable folk do, nice having nobody able to see my buck teeth haunting me like phantoms. All anyone could see were my eyes, which were, despite the lethal circumstances that had compelled me to mask, strangely at ease, possibly even smiling.


Photo at the top of the page by Umanoide. 


"Purgatory" by Funky64 (www.lucarossato.com) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A few weeks ago, as I walked through the front door of the detox house I’m a medical assistant at, I noticed what appeared to be a familiar character languishing on his old couch haunt, but I couldn’t be sure, as he was listless and downcast, and our eyes did not meet. He was all alone in the family room while the other handful of patients were huddled in the kitchen, murmuring amongst themselves and gazing upon him with disdain.

It looked like an Inuit folklore funeral where the man in question had been put on an ice floe and sent out to sea, into the sunset of a cold world.

I awkwardly stood by his pseudo bedside to see if he’d look at me so I could gauge if this was a new admit or someone from the advanced phase of the rehab program that had been sent back to us for a storage container-like timeout due to a relapse on alcohol/drugs, bad behavior, psychosis, sickness, etc. I waited, but he kept his head turned, staring intently and avoidantly at the tv, waiting for me to go about my business—so I spared him the interaction and went into the office for a shift change report.

When I got to the office, I closed the door, and in a hushed tone asked my quasi supervisor, “Who’s that on the family room couch?”

Jimmy nonchalantly replied, “Oh, yeah, that’s Ricky. He’ll be back here with us for a few days or so until his throat culture comes back.”

“I thought that was him. So he’s got strep, huh?”

“Yeah, that’s what the providers think it might be. He’s got a fever, sore throat, etc. They brought him here because they had nowhere else to put him.”


“By the way, he didn’t bring any of his food from the other house, so if you could run to the store and get him enough to last at least the weekend, that’d be swell.”

The Lord of the Flies-like situation I had first perceived was now starting to make sense.

COVID-19 and quarantine procedures in general were already making our mental health patients overly paranoid, frustrated, depressed, stir-crazy, etc., and the addition of this ambiguously infected fellow was another nice monkey wrench in the mix.

After our report, I went out to break the ice with Dick and reintroduce myself via an air elbow handshake from six feet or so, saying, “Hey, Rick, I’m C.J., if you forgot. So what’s up, man? You got the rona or what, dog?”

After kind of coughing into his hand like a child actor trying to stay home sick from school, the young, meek little lad said, “No, I think it’s just strep.”

Right after he said that, one of the other patients aggressively walked over towards me and sternly said, “Can I talk to you in the office for a minute, please?”

Trying to be hospitable and ease the palpable tension, I said, “Sure thing.”

As we walked away, sensing that Ricky was nervous and felt like an outcast, I turned to him and said, “By the way, man, it’s good to see you again, even under these circumstances. Everything’s going to be fine. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything. Oh, and if you would, please make a small grocery list. I’ll be running out in a minute to grab you a few things. Thanks.”

As soon as we got to the office, the patient slammed the door and started yelling, “Dude, what the fuck?”


“They should call this place retox instead of detox. We’re here suffering as it is, trying to get through some of the most uncomfortable moments of our lives, and they send this kid back here to spread God only knows what to us all. It’s crazy! And on top of that, you guys are out of masks, so we’re basically defenseless.”

“What would you like me to do?”

“I don’t know, something,” he said.

“Alright, bear with me, man. I’ll call the doctor to see if she can give me some more information on the situation.”

“Ok, let us know what happens.”

After he walked out, I gently closed the door and took a deep breath, and after pensively letting it out, my coworker, Bob, said with a calm, demoralized voice, “He’s right, you know. This whole thing’s crazy. I’m a 60-year-old man with a myriad of health complications and am being subjected to an unmasked, potential COVID patient. What am I supposed to tell my wife and kids who are currently staying back with us from college? They’re already worried sick about me having to come to work every day with high-risk patients who are constantly flying in from all over the country.”

I was also irritated at the situation, and even though the company would be billed for me reaching out to the on-call provider after normal business hours, I too wanted some answers, even if it was more or less to save face with everyone else in the house, showing them that I was trying to do the best I could by them.

When the physician’s assistant answered the phone, she said, “Hey, C.J., what’s up?”

“Hey, Kathy… some of the patients are starting to go mutiny status due to Ricky being here, speculating that he might have COVID, and I wasn’t told much about the situation, so I just wanted to see if you were able to shed some more light on the subject.”

With a deep, stressed-out sigh, she said, “Yes, C.J., we only have so many coronavirus tests, and Ricky’s current symptoms didn’t meet the criteria for us to use one on him, so we did a throat culture and will go from there. Hopefully it’s just a bad cold. Please continue to social distance and do the best you can. He’ll probably only be there for another day or two. Thanks for all you do. Also, we’re working on getting you guys more PPE.”

When I emerged from the office to try and lay their COVIDworried minds to rest, all the patients, save for Ricky, were waiting just outside with wide eyes and slightly open mouths, like baby birds waiting for a worm. Even though Ricky was still in the other room and in earshot of us, he knew full-well what was going on, so I proceeded to tell them what the provider had told me, in an effort to stick up for Ricky and smooth over the situation.

“So, guys…I just talked to the PA, and she wants me to reassure you that things aren’t what you’re making them out to be. If we continue to support one another and take common sense precautions, we’ll all get through this together. Things should be somewhat back to ‘normal’ by Monday.”

They took what I said with a grain of salt and carried on, thankfully with somewhat less restlessness and hostility.

I took the break in action as the perfect time to grab Ricky’s grocery list and make my great escape to the store, another post-apocalyptic-like COVID paranoid place where half of the people were flat affect face masked zombies, and the other half unmasked, sick-of-it-all Orange County beach protest-type people.

Since we didn’t have fresh masks, I decided to put my trusty black bandana on when I got in the car, which gave me a flashback to wearing shemaghs when I served as a colloquial “doc” with the Marines.

As I drove down the street, I rolled the window down to take advantage of the fresh air in between both biological battle zones. I knew it was somewhat ridiculous to wear my bandana in the car, but I figured embracing the absurdity of it all would be a good way to boost my spirits. I welcomed the strange looks and laughter I got from a few pedestrians, and fantasized about them thinking me some type of guerrilla health care gangster, ready to rob the world of COVID-19 and scrub it from existence.

On my way back to the house, I passed through the Golden Arches for a “Thank You Meal,” figuring I could use what was basically a literal bite to eat before carrying on with our recovering clients.

Before I ate what I pretended was a Happy Meal, I said a small prayer and offered up my antibiotic-rich double burger as a sacrament to the health care gods.


Photo at the top of the page: “Purgatory” by Funky64 (www.lucarossato.com) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0