We are on vacation in Mexico, trying not to think about colleges - not an easy task in a group that includes three university students, a high school senior, a high school junior and two recent college graduates. And, whenever we go for a walk on the beach, we run into anxious parents who we know from home whose kids were recently denied or deferred.
Last night we had our annual Yankee Swap gift exchange. Those of us anticipating the release of "The Neurotic Parent Guide to College Admissions" were thrilled to see that humor books are hot, at least until our local Barnes and Noble closes. "The History of the World According to Facebook" and "Stuff White People Like to Talk About" were coveted items, along with a compelling tome called "America's Douchiest Colleges." This mean and nasty guide published by Chronicle Books proves, once and for all, that this whole application thing is out of control because if, by some miracle, you're actually admitted to your dream school, before you know it, you'll probably just become another douchebag, or at least be surrounded by them.
What is a douchebag? According to the authors of ADC, "You're a douchebag...if you're packing up your mom's Volvo and headed off to a college where the only thing more popular than saving Darfur is vacationing in Nantucket."
Here's what the book has to say about alma maters and the colleges attended by those in our group:
Yale - Unofficial Motto: We're one horny bunch of nerds.
Penn - Unanswerable question posed by this douche: Seriously, what kind of douche knows he wants to work on Wall Street when he's 17 years old?
Trinity College - The "I murdered someone at Exeter with a nine iron, but I had a really good lawyer and my dad got me in here" douche.
Michigan - Unofficial Motto: If it weren't for Berkeley we'd be the best state school in the country! Oh, and UVa. And possibly North Carolina. But not Wisconsin (right?)
Duke - Unofficial Motto: A beautiful campus built by people who profitted from lung cancer.
The Douchiest List goes beyond dissing the preppy schools. Intellectual hubs such as Reed and U of Chicago are mentioned, as are groovy places like Brown, Bard, Oberlin, Bennington, Colorado College, Weslayan, and even Deep Springs. So are random schools in the "territory of Canada, including McGill, home of the "passively bilingual douche."
So, have we been angsting about how to get our kids into these places for naught? Will U.S. News get their hands on this guide and cause Harvard, Amherst, Princeton and MIT to fall in the ratings?
The Neurotic Parent is hoping to halt the impending douche crisis before the only nondouchy school in the hemisphere is Slippery Rock State (not mentioned in the book). Because the quasi-anonymous authors discuss the fact that "Some douches are made. And some arrive already douchey. So where do these natural-born douches come from?....Let's just say it: It's where loud, enfranchised children leave home and don't come back until they're loud, enfranchised adults...It's Long Island!"
Aha! The NPI has gotten to bottom of this. Colleges, take note: Initiate a Douche Admissions Quota immediately. In fact, why not require that kids from the Island have higher SAT scores than the rest of the applicants? A cheating scandal might ensue, all high school seniors in the 516 area code might end up in prison, and douchiness might disappear from colleges overnight...only to result in a new list of America's Douche-free Colleges.