College Tour lesson number one: Never eat on campus if it can be helped.

Today it can be helped. Because today there is a parent with a wallet.

Up the road, as we wander around Temple University in Philadelphia, which is well regarded for its music program, we can't find the admissions office. Sam asks someone for directions.
"She said admissions is right up here," he says.

I glance behind me at the attractive coed.

There are more than 34,000 students on this campus. Sam happens to pick the prettiest one and asks her for directions to the admissions office.

"You asked her?" I say.

"Yeah," he says. "Why?"

"Because she's pretty, that's all."

"Dad," he says.


"You are embarrassing me."

"What? Because I called her pretty? Is there something uncool about that?"

"You are an old man. She'll think you're a weirdo."

"Is it weird to call a young woman pretty? Besides, she can't even hear us."

"She's right there."

"So," I say, "stop talking about her as if she's not pretty."

He shakes his head.

College Tour lesson number two: Always get the campus female-to-male ratio so that when something happens to mess things up - like, say, Dad coming to visit - you know the odds of recovery.

In the late afternoon of the following day, we pull up to the only parking spot available near the Manhattan School of Music, which technically isn't a parking spot because there is a sign that says "No Parking." But using what they call in college deductive reasoning, or maybe it's inductive reasoning (I always get those confused), or maybe no reasoning at all, I figure that nobody is in the space, and this is New York City, and we're probably not going to find anything closer than New Jersey. Ergo, I grab it.