Part of the Human Comedy series
Inspired by a true story
N was a vice chairman of the powerful provincial council. He was often praised for overcoming a humble background to earn a Master's Degree in Economics and eventually a seat in the provincial council. His degree certificates were prominently featured in his office; no visitor to his office could have missed them. Reporters at one major newspaper were so impressed with this great man that they decided to travel to his rural hometown to interview his mother, who was still living there.
His mother greeted them hospitably. She spared no words to describe what a good and honest son he was.
Touched by what she said, one of the reporters commented. "You must be so proud of his academic achievement, earning a Master's Degree from our country's top university."
The mother appeared puzzled by her remark. She paused for a second and replied. "You must be mistaken. My son dropped out of school in eighth grade. He couldn't possibly earn a college degree."
The reporters looked at each other awkwardly.
Note: In some countries where education is highly valued, government officials like to boost their resumes with graduate degrees. Some honestly earn theirs; others purchase fake degree certificates or buy degrees through means of bribery.