Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why I Didn't Get Into Harvard

For most people in the world, not
getting into Harvard meant that finding
meaning in their lives was going to be
almost impossible. Even recently discovered
primitive peoples of the Amazon and the
South Seas, when informed that they hadn't
gotten into Harvard, gave up their traditions
and built crude replicas of Harvard Yard,
weeping at feasts for days on end. For the
men of these tribes, knowing they had not 
gotten into Harvard, meant that they could
not walk down the forest lanes any longer with
their heads held high, noses stuck in the air.
In Australia, many prospective crocodile hunters,
not having gotten into Harvard, just allowed 
themselves to be eaten. Many conspiracy 
theorists felt that not getting into Harvard 
would soon have catastrophic effects for 

I did well in high school and wanted to attend 
Harvard like everyone else. My family drove
me to Cambridge to meet with administrators
in hopes that that would have a positive effect. 
I had an interview with a Harvard alumnist who
lived near my town, which I anticipated with a 
mixture of starry eyed hope and dread. 

The interview, took place in the perfect Harvard
grad's book lined, wooden walled study. The
first question this man asked me was "What do
you want to do with your life?" 

I had never though of this question before. My 
life? My whole life? Was I expected to know, to
get into Harvard, everything I wanted to get done
in my life, when I was just still a teenager, 
concerned mainly with pimples and the rest of it?
Was I suddenly in some kind of surreal Catcher-in
the-rye-22 situation?

I stammered: "I don't know." There were no other
questions, really, and soon the interview came to
a politely abrupt end.

I have spent the rest of my life, as we all that didn't
get into Harvard do, analyzing what went wrong,
while we serve burgers at McDonalds, perform
second tier jobs in offices, change the oil on race
cars at the Indy 500, all the tasks that had been
gladly left for those that didn't get into Harvard.

I have come up with many possible options
of things I should have said in the interview,
at that one, crucial moment. Some are:

"I want to be the dictator, or even duly elected
despot, of a small country."

"I want to have more money than anyone else
and use it to control people."

"I want to develop weapons that will scare the
shit out of everybody."

I rejected: "I want to get lots of money and give
all to Harvard." It seemed too cloying.

I could go on and on and on with the list. It's
all most  us, that didn't get into Harvard, do in
our spare time.

Of course, there is a certain portion of humanity
too stupid to realize they didn't get into Harvard
and live (to them) happy, simple lives with work
that satisfies, surrounded by loving family and
friends. They'll never know what they're missing.


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