Monday, October 15, 2012

The Old College Try

  Your Future is Here!

The old term " giving it the old college try" has a new meaning these days. Nowadays that term refers to the try most colleges give it to get promotional brochures extolling their virtues into the hands of  every high school senior in the free world who can read, write,  and/or pronounce the word "glossy."

Seniors such as my son Brandon, whom I'm proud to say can do all three.

Every day the brochures pour in from hallowed halls of learning ranging from Harvard and Yale to the International House of Diplomas. Sleek and smart with Madison Avenue style copy and photography, it's hard to tell whether that missive in the mail is from Boston College or Bloomingdale's, Villanova or Victoria's Secret.

"We got enough of them today," I said to Brandon, " to defoliate an entire  rain forest."

"I've seen sufficient brochures for now, Dad,"  said Bran"

"But your future is here!"  I cried out, cribbing a line I'd only read in all of them! 

"No, Dad," said Bran, "but I'm sure your present is."

Wondering what he meant, I settled unto the couch and into the brochure which  proclaimed upon its cover

You'll Learn Stuff Here

Inside the cover was a picture of students traversing a lovely tree-lined campus in a fall pastoral setting of great beauty and tranquility.

"Located on half an acre in a parking lot next to the beer distributor across from Rite Aid, the University of Havertown beckons you" read the accompanying copy. 
On the next page came the: 

                        Letter from President Lemuel Gullible

in which President Gullible heavily touted the core values of a Blangdon education being:
"Knowledge, Honesty, and Truth." 

A footnote indicates that: "Dr. Gullible has recently retired from the University of Havertown after 35 years of distinguished service which in no way had anything to do with the recent revelation that Dr. Gullible faked the Philosophy of Teleological Empirical Ethicism Degree that got him into the University in the first place, and of course, there is no such thing."

Which brought me to: 

Academics?  Yeah,  We Got 'Em! 

Students  focus on Shelley and Joyce at one 
of the University's high level Literature seminars.

Nice photo, but a more accurate caption would be "Male students fantasize sexual relations with hot young teaching assistant."  Sure they're all focusing on Shelley and Joyce, provided Shelley and Joyce turn out to be two Jewish girls from Penn State they're being set up with on the weekend.

The values of a University of Havertown education were touted as:

"Over 400 majors to choose from including three in Teleological Empirical Ethicism and of course, there is no such thing.

All our professors are of the highest caliber and scholars in every discipline. A few even show up for class, often sober.

Great Study Abroad Program provided you can pony up the scratch to get yourself to Syria." 

And next:

Working Hard, Playing Hard 

with photos like 


and my personal favorite 

and lastly

Yep, give the U. of Havertown points for honesty here. 

And on to the final page, with the heading:

Picture Yourself Here


And so I did.  And closed my eyes.  And pictured the new heading upon the page:

Perry Block poses next to Havertown students decades younger and cooler than he is. 

Serves me right for reading other people's mail!



Melinda said...

I get the feeling that somehow you're not a fan of colleges with brochures? Wait til' they start sending you the online version, guranteed to flood your inbox for awhile. ;)

Perry Block said...


Maybe Brandon is getting some online, but I am not. Mostly they just come pouring in through traditional mail, so traditional old me sees them.

Although I'm sick of them now, I liked getting them to check out what the school has to offer, how the school sells itself, and okay, to fantasize I'm the one that they want!

You expected better of me, Melinda?

Hope everything is going well.

Perry Block said...

Author's Note:

This is an okay piece, no cigar.

I meant it to be a simple commentary piece on the glossiness and sameness of college brochures today and got the idea midway through to make it a pictorial parody. As such, it may be neither fish nor fowl.

It has its funny moments and that's enough.