Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Laws of Physics? Need Not Apply

I read this college admissions essay for the first time over the weekend, and since 1) the web site hosting it is shutting down soon and 2) it is without a doubt the finest example of hyperbole humor I've ever read, I'm reposting it here:

This is an actual essay written by a college applicant. The author,
Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.

3A. ESSAY: IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO
KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING
QUESTION: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR
ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A
PERSON?

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.
Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.

(Essay found over on Turtlenck and Chains)

7 comments:

  1. This is great! I would have accepted him just for this line: "While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery."

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  2. I am the most interesting college applicant in the world.

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  3. Really, really clever...

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  4. Marianne McA6:08 PM

    I would have accepted him for this one:"I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru."

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  5. That is great! I really kept waiting for the line "I am the most interesting prospective college student in the world." after the Dos Equix commercials.

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  6. Fran K3:39 AM

    Man, that's brilliant. I was really impressed that he knew the location of every item in the supermarket! I didn't understand the bat .400 thing aside from realising its a sporting reference but thought it was genius to follow that up with flower arrangements. Smart guy, will go far!

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  7. While reading it, I recognized it - it's been quite a while since I'd seen it last, so I researched - and discovered it's even older than I thought: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blbyol3.htm

    Oh, and this; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Gallagher_(humorist) - if you're curious what to see a little of what he's done in the 24 years since writing that essay!

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