It all started on a warm April day in those innocent days of 2000, when movie tickets cost $9.00 and Marc Rich was just a twinkle in Bill Clinton’s eye. I was frolicking in my backyard Jacuzzi in Lexington, Mass., with Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman. As I politely asked Ashley to pass the Courvosier (I was drinking that stuff when Busta Rhymes was in diapers), I heard our trusty mailman Pokey clanging up the back steps to the mailbox (he had a titanium leg). Ashley purred, “Do you think you got accepted somewhere today, Mr. Hart?” and I replied “I sure hope so, baby doll.”
My friends were getting into schools left and right back then, so I was in a fairly anxious mood. Hopes for a relaxing start to the spring had been dashed two months earlier, when my early decision candidate, Colorado School of Mines, had sent me a thin envelope with a picture of an exploding mine from the video game “Minesweeper” on the front. I had been rejected by Wellesley College and University of Guam at Guam City, waitlisted by Kosovo Academy of Arts and accepted to UMass. It was a time of great uncertainty, not unlike the opening days of World War II. I spotted Pokey a few feet down the road. “Did I get in, Mr. Reese?” I hollered.
“I’ve seen a lot of phat envelopes in my day, Mr. Hart,” he squawked in his raspy Southern drawl. “But none as phat as the one I just delivered to your house.” Now that I think about it, he probably meant “fat,” but hindsight is 20/20. Either way, I had gotten into GW.
Now came decision time. Should I move to Nantucket and write the great American novel or go to some school that had fallen out of the vaunted U.S. News and World Report the previous year?
As I was mulling over my options, I suddenly felt a hot compress being applied over my mouth, and before I knew it I was on the ground. Being an ardent Hardy Boys fan, I knew there was only one possibility: I had been chloroformed. I awoke to find myself staring into the eyes of what looked to be an Ivy-League educated Jewish man in his 50’s wearing a cape and an Abercrombie hat. “What’s. what’s going on here?” I sputtered. The man smiled and brandished a machete.
“I am Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president of The George Washington University. If you don’t come to GW,” he said as he raised the knife in the air, “something will happen here, if you know what I mean.” Since I wasn’t familiar with the school’s slogan yet, I did not understand his joke, and there was an awkward silence. “Look, Ben, it seems we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot here,” Trachtenberg said. “I want you to understand that I pull this routine only with the students I care the most about. I do it to show that I will come to your house and kidnap you if that’s what it takes. Ben, your mediocre high school grades and pretty good standardized test scores mean more to me than life itself. Please come to Washington!”
That is the true story of how I “decided” to come to GW. Let it be a lesson to the rest of you. I’m not sure what the lesson is.
-The writer, a sophomore majoring in history, is a Hatchet columnist.