Monday, April 23, 2012

Helping Our Child Choose a College Using the Immature Approach.

I know it's irrational and I know it's immature. I should feel fortunate that she's on the college path and that my wife and I can drum up the means to support her endeavors.

Why should I give a rat's gluteal hemisphere about her post high school preference? It's not about me.

Sophomoric rivalries be damned, yes?

I was already reeling from the fact that my firstborn daughter, a high school junior, is fresh off completing her ACT exam and is currently in the midst of a preliminary college search. Few parents with whom I'm acquainted are fully copacetic when their downy gosling prepares to bail the nest.

It seems like just last Thursday I was using a flattened Huggie as a fecal missile defense shield while blow drying her dimpled little arse to stave off fiery diaper chafe.

So yes, it's been difficult enough dealing with her impending emancipation.

My angel traveled without me to eastern Washington a couple of weeks ago to check out a private university and a couple of publics. Having been spared this excursion, no self administered Thorazine drip proved necessary since I wasn't present to witness her face light up like Iranian uranium after laying her eyes on Washington State University.

And that's where my profound immaturity entered through the back screen door. You see, the WSU Cougars are the bitter cross-state rival to my alma mater, the University of Washington—they're the Donald Trump to my Rosie O'Donnell, the Roundup to the indigenous dandelions in my asphalt cracks.

I'm a Husky, and this is not a logical thing. During the summer, when I rise with a slurping pucker from the back yard barco lounger, a purple and gold sweat stain in the shape of my sagging latissimus dorsi tattoos the woven back rest.

If my kid enjoyed her visit to my collegiate arch rival, so be it. As long as my cherub is happy, right?

And she was happy for sure, but Collegiate Tour 2012 had yet to perform its curtain call, and this time, I was the chauffeur. The destination was Eugene, Oregon—home to the University of Nike, I mean, Oregon.

While I'm not dialed into the pulse of most teenagers, I feel fairly synchronized with my progeny, and she's a Nikette all the way. Gazed upon through her child-labor-blinded blinders, anything Nike is cool. The University of Oregon, which boasts the cradle of Phil Knight and his mega marketing mark, Nike, Incoporated, beckons our nation's youth with its slick branding and impressive athletic cred.

Okay, there's also a university in there, somewhere, and a pretty good one. But who really cares, because those Oregon Ducks have kicked my Huskies' furry asses all over the fake turf since Lewinsky delivered cigars to Clinton.

I did my utmost to overcome the childish pangs of vitriol as we assembled into small groups for campus tours. Our sciences guide, Grant, hardly fit the prototypical U. of O. student profile. While I'd envisioned being shown the lay of the land by a hardened co-ed wearing a green sports bra and sun-visored ponytail, Grant cut the figure of a shy science geek who performed campus tours solely to afford World of Warcraft upgrades.

Grant proved to be a very sweet, slightly doughy kid wearing a tucked-in green polo,. He spoke painfully softly and chose the loudest places to stop and talk to us, lingering in construction zones, just below open dorm windows blaring hip hop and next to other tour groups whose guides' voices projected considerably louder than his own. Every time I stepped toward Grant to hear what he was saying, he strode backward to maintain his expansive personal bubble.

Grant insisted on walking backward. My daughter and I surmised that he took pride in his elite calf and Achilles Tendon condition, because the guy walked backward the entire time; we're talking two-and-a-half hours.

His technique proved incredibly distracting, however, since our group's singular focus was Grant's safety. Every thirty seconds, someone in our entourage interrupted Grant's backtracking spiel with "Tree!" or "Stop sign!" or "Deep mud followed by rhododendron!"

At the tour's conclusion, everyone was so exhausted from watching out for Grant and not hearing what he said that we just walked—forward—back to our car and breathed deeply as Eugene vaporized in the rear view mirror.

My kid's now visited six colleges, which is six more than I examined as an eleventh grader. On the five-hour drive back to Seattle, we both agreed to enjoy what's left of her high school experience and knock off the college talk for a while, since we've been a little obsessed as of late.

The decision ultimately lies with my daughter, and no amount of purple and gold M&Ms on her pillow will change that. Right?

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