But this isn’t light and it isn’t self-deprecating,” she told him. “It’s painfully self-conscious, that’s all it is. It’s as though you’re afraid ‘Harvard’ may sound sort of prissy, so you want to counteract it right away with this two-fisted nonsense about prizefighting. Listen: You know these writers who’ve spent their whole lives in college? With their advanced degrees and their teaching appointments and their steady rise to full professorship? Well, a lot of them are scared to put that stuff on their book jackets, so they get themselves photographed in work shirts and they fall back on all the dumb little summer jobs they had when they were kids: ‘William So-and-so has been a cowhand, a truck driver, a wheat harvester, and a merchant seaman.’ Don’t you see how ludicrous that is?
Lucy Davenport, Richard Yates - Young Hearts Crying (1984)