What would it take to feel full again? A banana. Consumption. Crime. Water. Community Service.
One could consider this the running theme of my summer.
But more than that, logic. Am I a logical person? If not, is that really a negative thing? Doesn’t that mean I’m creative and special? And where does one draw the line between special and retarded? Or, to a politer medium, define the line between special and not-a-functioning-human.
I used to get so annoyed when my dogs would spring up from my bed, waltz over to my door, and start pacing in a harried circular motion. This meant they wanted out. This signaled their intentions to roam the house and urinate on persian carpets, really the only high-end fixtures we maintain in the household. Why does my dad love persian carpets so much? OK, they are pretty, but with him it’s an obsession.
“Somehow, the dogs know not to pee on my fancy carpets! It’s like they intuit that I care about these ones.”
True, they prefer to urinate on my brother’s hard, knotty pottery barn number in a more secluded corner of the house. After all, Rob pays them no attention and his room offers a unique sense of privacy. (note that everytime I use a vowel-starting word with the article a(n) before it, I wonder if non-english speakers learning the language don’t know that you omit the “n” before words like unique because the “u” is pronounced as a hard consonant. Oh the wonders of the world!)
But when my dad and I returned from Europe, the dogs were peeing everywhere they damn well pleased. Entry Hall: check. Living Room: check. My bedroom: check. One could chalk it up to loneliness and spite; they had no friends around, no allies. But really it’s diva behavior and I won’t stand for it. Demonic, spiteful little shits.
I’ve decided, no, long ago I decided, to do what scares me. Live like Jack Nicholson in the Bucket List! (haven’t seen it) Live like you’ve seen death and denied it real estate! Live like the world might blow up at the flick of a match!
Well, I’m still scared. And I still have so many questions. And I’m currently in the dolldrums of July, with no inclination to bullshit my way out of this cynical forecast because July is notoriously a month of vacillation, fog, nostalgia, and stifled desires for MK. June is like the engine revving up. An ungreased engine igniting the early sparks of freedom and ambition, but tragically installed in a beat-up old truck. Then in July the engine is removed from said truck and it piffles about in the open air, spewing soot some days, or cackling with the satisfying noises of a healthy engine the next. And then in August, this pleasant, liw8 newborn engine is pristinely polished and tightly screwed into an incisive and efficient new car. And we’re off to the races.
I’m now confronted with the task of writing an essay for college applications. Probably more than one essay. And I’m also prompted to mull over my SAT results, on which I pulled off a decrepit score of 590 on the math section. I fantasize about stomping into my interview at Columbia and proclaiming, “Hey bitches, if you won’t accept me due to a low SAT math score, then you are shallow, unimpressive, empty assholes.” Upon declaring my immediate feelings, I would probably then launch into an apology, along with some excuses to reassure them of my *relative mathematical competence. (*relative to uneducated Rwandan orphans) “Really, my math scores are so low in comparison to my verbal scores because I’m a passionate person who decided to fill in all the bubbles on the math section despite my failure to know the answers because I was hubristic about my verbal scores, and then I thought, to hell with them! I will show them. I will answer all these stupefying number puzzles even though SAT tutors worldwide would shake their fists in agony at the sight of it. Only later did I realize I had nobody to show. Perhaps my parents. Yes, maybe them. And the damn SAT tutors that I thankfully avoided, but that almost 90% of my peer group had the luck of being quarantined with at 1 to 2 hour intervals for several months prior to “the big test.”
Using my parent’s money to hire some self-proclaimed “expert” to help me study for a future-defining, compulsory exam that is administered to most every college-bound American high schooler. Now that is a concept I cannot get behind. See, everytime I turn a corner in this college process I get pissed off. It’s so arbitrary and expensive and many of the people I admire didn’t even go to college. People say they were geniuses, but perhaps the only thing that set them apart was this shining capacity to ignore what other’s told them was shrewd or normal, coupled with a faint notion of what they were passionate and eager to do.
“I’m suffering from writer’s block” is another way to say “I’m feeling hopelessly uncreative because I’m afraid to make mistakes.” I refuse to acknowledge that as a possibility. So I will write some nice college essays. They will be honest, amusing, engaging, and, on the off chance that I don’t stab myself in the eye with each attempt, compelling. Could that happen? Are we rolling with this? We are.
My old middle school English teacher, Andrew, suffers from a medical condition that degenerates the nerves in his hands. His humor encompasses the finest blend of self-deprecation, staggering intelligence, and, sometimes, disarming eccentricity. But these days he wakes up in pain. He can’t cook himself breakfast, much less cook his child breakfast. I always think, “If only there existed a palacial resort up in the clouds wherein day-to-day dealings — life — was conducted not in physicality, but in the mind. Because there, Andrew would be at his best. He would be happy, functional, and more agile than the rest of us. Finally, God, or whatever, would do Andrew’s mind justice. A brilliant mind, not to be wasted away by the burdens of the mundane, the burden of physical reality.”
These are honest words, and don’t I sound like a saint? Yes, this is the play-doh with which I am supposed to craft a college essay. According to the forward in the published collection of 50 essays written by successful applicants to Harvard, one must a. avoid cliché, but b. make your accomplishments conspicuous, yet c. showcase your overflowing, overpowering desire, no, your determination, to save mankind. And I could extraneously add d. limit essay to 500 words, while neatly packaging your personality and observational capabilities into the logical story-arc of a picturebook for 2-year-olds. Now it’s like a damn math problem. Flashback to May 5, 2012: If Suze sold Tom a car on Monday for 6 grand and Tom resold this car to Phil for 7 grand, are Tom’s actions morally justifiable?
Alright, well no conclusions just yet. And I consider this a good thing, because according to Mr. Xu of the Harvard Crimson, one of the few flaws in Timothy’s essay about skiiing with an elderly couple was his employment of a moralistic, cliché adage in his conclusion, signifying an unsuccessful attempt to smooth over the vague thesis of his piece. But we forgive Tim, obviously, because he also has a 5.0 GPA and a spotless crime record. Amen!