|By Tony Russell|
This is the time of year when millions of parents are wringing
their hands, waiting out the college admission process. How nerve
wracking this can be was brought home to me yesterday when I bumped
into one of my neighbors, Sylvia Goodfine, in the produce section at
Good evening, I said, as she squeezed a tomato, checking for
firmness. Has Jennifer decided where she wants to go to school
Sylvia dumped the tomato back in the bin and picked up
another. I think so, she said. It looks like its going to be
I knew she had it narrowed down to Marshall and Yale. How
did she come to eliminate Yale? I asked, curious, as her thumb broke
through the skin of the second tomato and plunged into the pulp.
We were watching the president-elect on television last
night, she said. Did you see him?
Sorry, Sylvia, I said. I avoid television and political
entertainment as much as possible.
Then you missed it, she said, tossing the second tomato back
into the bin and licking the juice off her thumb. That one was just
too soft. Youd think theyd sort their produce better than that.
Whats that got to do with choosing a college? I asked.
She stopped squeezing tomatoes for a moment. Mr. Bush went
to Yale, she said. Hes always said that schools should be judged
by their results. By the students they turn out. Jennifer really
took that to heart.
I dont get it, I said. So why did she cross off Yale?
It was actually listening to the president-elect that did it, she
said. After a while, he was driving Jennifer crazy. He cant talk
without making a grammatical mistake. And he cant read a speech that
somebody wrote for him. He tries to put the right amount of feeling
into what hes reading, and he just cant match the meaning to the
words. Its like listening to a tone-deaf choir sing The
Star-Spangled Banner. Its embarrassing.
I suppose it is if you campaigned to be 221the education
president, I agreed.
She had moved on to the melons, and was sniffing the end of a
cantaloupe. Anyway, she said, Jennifer complained, 221Mom, we
learned about subject-verb agreement in the eighth grade! Then she
said that if thats what come out of that Phillips Academy-Andover, I
think it was-and four years of Yale, shed rather go to a school that
gives good value for its money.
Jennifer always was a practical person, I said.
Her face lit up. Were saving over twenty thousand a year
this way, she agreed. Go Herd