College Collage, or, How to Woo the PSAT Hottie

I’ve got a problem. I scored in the top 99th percentile on the PSAT’s.

DSC_4535

And now I’ve got options.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, does it? Well, by drawing a couple of properly situated graphite circles on the proper parts of a piece of paper, I have authorized the slaughter of half a dozen acres of woodland and the death-by-asphyxiation of my mailbox as it gasps between mouthfuls of eager college advertisements.

Which is fine. I wouldn’t have taken the test if I didn’t want my options right in front of my nose. But these letters make me feel like some capitally sexy girl at the bar of the club. I’m just sitting here, trying to enjoy my drink, and I know I’ll see a steady stream of at least half a dozen young drunk males blundering my way and spouting a few slurred pick-up lines. Then they’ll ogle me while I sink into my stool and pretend not to have noticed them.

You people ought to know what I’m talking about. There’s the guy who claims he’s talking to you for a perfectly legitimate reason:

They might *say* they're all about the open house, but they're really looking to get inside your pants.

They might *say* they’re all about the open house, but they’re really looking to get inside your pants.

The guy who asks random nonsensical questions in the hopes of sparking a conversation:

"When is questioning questions a better idea than answering them?" is a great way to break the ice.

“Can you say máh-qis?” is always a great way to break the ice.

The slick creep who somehow already knows your name:

Although everyone seems to know your address.

To be fair, *everyone* seems to know your address.

The guy with handy dollops of questionable profundity:

Okay, decent advice. Random time to dispense it.

“Be who you are and be that well.” I have no snide comment for that.

The guy who’s too drunk/scared to make any sense:

It would probably make more sense if I knew about the college in question.

I would probably be less confused if I knew anything about the college in question.

The guy who says one word, hiccups and runs off:

Here's my name and then a word, you know what to do now.

Here’s my name and a word, you know what to do now.

And the, um, shy one:

DSC_4536

Hello yourself.

Not sure if anybody “got the girl”, so to speak. But here’s a few of my favorites:

You're in a coma. None of this is real. Wake up.

You’re a delusional mess, Brady. You’ve got to shape up that life of yours and move on.

"The usefulness of uselessness" - knew I shouldn't have put English/Creative Writing down as my main interest in the P'Sats.

“The usefulness of uselessness” – knew I shouldn’t have put Creative Writing down as my main interest in the P’Sats.

Are we selling a college, or a jar of salsa, or a hat?

Are we selling a college, a jar of salsa, or a hat?

If I was going for cutest guy this would be it:

A CASTLE! I can go to Hogwarts! Sign me up!

A CASTLE! I can go to Hogwarts! Sign me up!

But the overall winner is this weird-ass university in Annapolis called St. John’s, where majors are optional, and people sign up for books instead of classes. If you want to go into medicine, for example, you’d read Harvey’s Motion of the Heart and Blood, or if you wanted to study chemistry you’d read Euclid’s Elements, or if you wanted to study math you’d read Nicomachus’ Arithmetic and later Pascal’s Generation of Conic Sections, or if you wanted to study philosophy and English history you’d read… the rest of the list.

Stephen King is, as usual, underrepresented on the curriculum.

Stephen King is, as usual, underrepresented on the school curriculum.

St. John’s promises a pretty immersing, cerebral experience. Holy God, I think the secrets of the universe lurk behind those doors.

People don't graduate from St. John's. They achieve a higher level of consciousness, like Bowman in Space Odyssey,

People don’t graduate from St. John’s. They reach a higher plane of consciousness, like Bowman in Space Odyssey.

Last but not least – I painstakingly combed through the sample size pictured at the beginning, and took tallies of all the college letters that

  • Thanked me for a request I didn’t make – 2
  • Said I’m a bright/talented student/stand out from my classmates – 4
  • Mentioned the parents – 2 (one college actually enclose a letter to the parents, which is smart, because they’re the ones who’re actually paying)
  • Stressed the brevity of their college-choosing site – 2
  • Began the letter with “I” – 4 (always a big turnoff for girls; you’ve got to make the right impression)
  • Included an empty return envelope – 10 (aren’t they nice…)
  • Used 1st person singular pronouns and signed with a real person’s name – all of them (you’re not fooling anybody – I saw the “automatic send to AACP” note on the side)
Excluding the letters I was too clumsy to open.

They wouldn’t call me so talented if they thought I saw my letter-opening skills..

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3 Responses to College Collage, or, How to Woo the PSAT Hottie

  1. Kristen Shipley says:

    This is really cool! I like the metaphor you used and it is hilarious!

  2. Matt Eyer says:

    Brady, this is fantastic.

  3. Brady Achterberg says:

    Thanks guys! I had a lot of fun writing it.

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