I’m a huge fan of Art Buchwald who died two days ago. When I started LD Resources many years ago I dug out a Buchwald column from the LA times about kids getting into college I thought would be fun to post there. I wrote him a letter (not email) asking permission to post it and he was delighted to allow it. I’m reposting the piece here and now to honor him and fortunately or unfortunately, it’s still timely.
Art Buchwald, Whose Humor Poked the Powerful, Dies at 81
College of His Choice, Once Removed
© Art Buchwald
Los Angeles Times
Sunday, April, 26, 1981
“I made it. I made it,” Elsinore cried as he rushed into my office.
“What did you make?”
“I got into Wesleyan.”
“At your age? I didn’t know you were going back to school.”
“Not me, dummy, my kid. We just got accepted.”
“You mean your kid just got accepted.”
“I mean we. He couldn’t care less where he went to school, but you don’t know how his mother and I sweated this one out. Actually Harvard was our first choice, but Wesleyan isn’t anything to sneeze at.”
“I should say not,” I told him. “It has a very good reputation.”
“We looked at a lot of schools. His mother thought Middlebury was very nice, and I was very impressed with Stanford.”
“What did your son think?”
“We didn’t ask him. What did it have to do with him?”
“I thought that since he would have to go there, he might want a say in the matter.”
“You’re not going to let a kid make a decision like that. After all, his entire future is at stake.”
“I can see your thinking,” I said.
“Unless you’re a parent, you can’t appreciate the agony you go through when your kid applies to college. When Harvard turned us down, my wife stayed in bed for two days. The doctor explained that it wasn’t her fault and she shouldn’t take it personally. But she felt she had let us all down.”
“It’s hard for mothers to have their children rejected,” I sympathized.
“Funny enough, the Harvard turndown didn’t bother me. But when Dartmouth said the best it could do was to put my son on the waiting list, I really blew my top. Where does Dartmouth come off putting my kid on a waiting list?”
“Dartmouth doesn’t care who it puts on its waiting list,” I said. “I hope you told the school where to go.”
“I certainly did. I wrote a letter and said if that’s the way the school felt about us, it could take its winter carnival and stuff it.”
“I’ll bet it didn’t expect anyone to react that way.”
“My wife and I don’t want to be associated with any school that plays games with its applicants.”
“So after all this, why did you decide on Wesleyan?”
“Well, we checked it out with all our friends and they didn’t see anything wrong with our kid going there. It wasn’t as if we were sending him off to NYU or the University of Maryland. Wesleyan sounds Ivy League, even if it isn’t. Also, when someone asks why we didn’t choose Yale or Princeton, we can say in all honesty, we preferred a smaller school, where you get to know the other kids. Frankly, when the acceptance letter arrived yesterday, I was terribly relieved.”
“Have you told your son yet where he is going?”
“No, but I don’t see any problem. He said as long as we were happy with his college choice, he’d be happy.”
“I like a kid who thinks for himself,” I said. “How does your wife feel about it?”
“She’s relieved also, although she did say we hadn’t heard from the University of Pennsylvania yet, and maybe we should wait before sending Wesleyan the registration fee.”
“I didn’t know you two were considering Penn,” I told him.
“We have to consider Penn, just in case we want to go to business school for our master’s degree.”