Tuesday, December 1, 2009

If I only had a Plutonian...

“Whatcha doing, Auntie Em?” my five-year-old nephew asked me as he joined me on the couch and began reading the computer screen on my lap. The kid is already an avid reader.

“Oh, I’m working on some applications,” I answered, pausing my painful, dehumanizing, Thanksgiving-break project to explain. “I’m writing letters to convince ten different schools that they want to pay me money to go there.”

“Well,” he changed the subject, “I need to send a message to NASA. It’s quite urgent. Give me the computer.”

Slightly amused at his lack of decorum, I nevertheless turned down his pressing request. “No, I have to work on this letter for now. Look, I’ve already written this much, and I still need to write more.” I pointed to the screen in an attempt to impress the munchkin.

“Wow, that is a lot of words,” he allowed. “But Plutonians can write ten times that much in five minutes.”

Now, I’m by nature a bit competitive anyway, so if there’s anything worse that being one-upped by fictitious residents of the dwarf planet Pluto (not even a real planet, no less!), it is having a five-year-old point it out to me.

“Well, good for them,” I grumbled. “Maybe they would actually get into some of these schools."

But he was not done. “And they can read books this big,” he demonstrated with the entirety of his (albeit small) arm-span. “They read that much every day.”

“Alright,” I said, looking back at my computer to demonstrate disengagement, “then they can read my applications when I’m done.”

“And Plutonians can speak every language ever,” he continued, “including Chinese, which is much harder than Latin and Greek.”

Come on, kid... academia is already making me feel like enough of an idiot!

Finally, his mother came to my rescue by commanding the munchkin to leave Auntie Em alone, and I returned to the cumbersome task of keeping the requirements of the ten admissions committees to which I was prostituting myself straight. “We place great weight on your personal statement,” I read on one school’s website. “This statement is your opportunity to get the committee interested in you, in your potential as a professional and as a human being...”

This is a what-I-have-been-trying-not-to-listen-to post. God, may this be over soon!


Anonymous said...

I love reading about your interactions with your little nephew. Maybe you should have him help you write the essays! I'm sure he can be quite convincing.

Good luck! :)


Kate said...

Oh dear. Sorry. I couldn't help but laugh. Seriously, though. Good luck with the applications. I don't envy you the process.