Back when I made my living as a high school English teacher, I used to tell my ninth graders that the class unit with the most practical application to their lives was Greek tragedy. “Grammar’s important, too,” I would hasten to add. “Don’t get me wrong. But not all of you will require a working knowledge of English grammar to get by in life. In fact, there have been any number of persons, including one or two recent presidents of the United States, who seemed to do quite well without it.
“As far as reading goes, I’d be the first person to extol the practical value of literacy, not to mention the many pleasures that come of the same, but there again, I’ve met more than one successful man or woman who seems not to have read much besides a menu in years. Writing, for sure, is also an important skill, but I’ve been writing and teaching writing for a decade, and look at the car I drive.