My high school senior, Ali, did very well when it came to the college search. She was accepted at multiple institutions and was offered scholarships and other prestigious awards.
She’s thrilled. I’m proud. My youngest daughter is taking measurements of their bedroom. Because Izzy is an athlete, that space will become the place where sports dreams come true…aka her locker room.
Although physical activity has never really been Ali’s thing, those girls and their dirty laundry have got that smell perfected. Imagine that sweat and shin guards fell in love and had a baby that never bathes. Welcome to where my girls lay their heads at night.
I’ve warned Izzy that it’s going to take some major discipline and commitment on her part to keep the stench at that level without her sister’s help. Every time I say that and she stalks off, I can’t help but feel proud of her determination.
Despite her many acceptances and accolades, my daughter’s college search was not always as seamless as it might have appeared to my Facebook followers.
She applied to NYU, and even though we live close enough to visit the campus easily, Ali’s busy schedule forced her to set up a Skype interview with a woman from the Admission’s Department.
On the day of, my daughter dressed and applied makeup even though on her free days she prefers to stay in her pajamas. She forced herself out of bed before noon, tortured us all with her hysteronics (a word I have coined to describe my children when they are beyond their normal level of hysteria and loudness), and spent hours making sure the camera on the lap top worked perfectly.
Over in NYUland, the Admissions Officer, Ms. K, was having technical difficulties. Her camera wasn’t working properly, so Ali relaxed a bit, thinking she couldn’t be seen at all. Little did she know that the camera worked sporadically, as did the woman’s computer speaker over at the University.
Ms. K asked Ali why she thought she’d be a good fit at NYU. Ali answered:
“I (static) know who you are looking for. I (static) know exactly what you want (blackout) in an incoming student. If you are looking for someone (static) awesome, I can tell you I don’t have (static) funny (blackout) stories about how I was trained. But what I do have are a very particular set of (brief blackout) acting skills; skills acquired over a very long career (blackout) in the arts program in my school. Skills that make me a (static) dream student for (brief blackout) admissions people like you. (blackout) My mother would say, ‘If you let my daughter go (static) to your school now, that’ll be the end of (static) our search.’ (blackout) She’s right. I will not look (static) for any other places, I will not pursue (static) other choices,(blackout) because I’ll have you. But if you don’t, I will (brief blackout) continue to look, (blackout) and I am good enough to find other institutions,(static) and a place where I will kill it. (static and blackout) Thank you.”
Because her equipment wasn’t working right and she could only hear about every fourth word or so, (and some of those were even distorted due to static) Ms. K heard the speech that Liam Neeson gives in the movie, TAKEN:
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
Ali knew something was wrong. She could tell by the faces Ms. K was making.
But what she didn’t know was that as she moved around, much more relaxed because she thought she couldn’t be seen, the faulty camera on Ms. K’s end played tricks on her eyes. When Ali crumbled up the paper with her notes on it and tossed it at the wastebasket, it looked like she was throwing a grenade. When she adjusted the lap top a bit, it seemed like the world outside the window behind her was exploding.
Not long after, the rejection letter arrived in the mail.
We considered appealing and explaining that the speech was really Ali’s audition monologue. The restraining order they included was just further evidence that she was a perfect fit for the acting program. In the end, it was just too hard to get in touch with anyone after the University changed all of their phone numbers and email addresses….is NYU even still in New York?