I was talking to a smart young woman who is a high school senior. She told me she's applied to 12 colleges and is waiting to hear back from them so she can choose which one to attend. She asked me how many colleges I applied to when I was a high school senior. I said I applied to one.
People said I was a smart kid when I was a senior but my college options were limited nonetheless because I was crippled and that was 1974. That was the year after the passage of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the federal law that said entities receiving federal money couldn’t discriminate against cripples. The Rehab Act hadn’t had time to take root yet so there weren’t a lot of cripple-accessible college campuses. About the only college that was accessible enough for me to attend was Southern Illinois University so that’s where I applied and luckily enough I got in or I’d have been screwed.
I laugh hard when I hear those scandalous stories about people who are rich and/or famous doing stuff like paying bribes and cheating to get their kids into some hot-shit college, like Stanford. I laugh hard because I think about how ridiculous it would be for anybody to pay bribes and cheat to get into Southern Illinois University.
But actually, I’m lucky I didn’t have to cheat or bribe my way into Southern Illinois University. The high school I attended was a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology, because it forms an acronym that conveys the quality of the education I received there (SHIT). But the real name of the place was the Illinois Children’s Hospital School, which is even worse. That’s the name of the school on my high school diploma. It hardly sounds like an elite college prep academy. And my grades were mediocre, because I was a teenager and I didn’t give a shit. And my score on my college entrance exam was mediocre, too, because I was a teenager and I didn’t give a shit.
So I’m still amazed that the person at Southern Illinois University who reviewed my college application didn’t stick it right into the shredder, after sharing it with all of their coworkers for a good laugh. But for some reason they accepted me. And it’s too late for them to take it back. I think I got away with it.
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