By Tony Russell

This is the time of year when millions of parents are wringing their hands, waiting out the college admission process. How nerve wracking this can be was brought home to me yesterday when I bumped into one of my neighbors, Sylvia Goodfine, in the produce section at Foodland.

Good evening, I said, as she squeezed a tomato, checking for firmness. Has Jennifer decided where she wants to go to school yet?

Sylvia dumped the tomato back in the bin and picked up another. I think so, she said. It looks like its going to be Marshall.

I knew she had it narrowed down to Marshall and Yale. How did she come to eliminate Yale? I asked, curious, as her thumb broke through the skin of the second tomato and plunged into the pulp.

We were watching the president-elect on television last night, she said. Did you see him?

Sorry, Sylvia, I said. I avoid television and political entertainment as much as possible.

Then you missed it, she said, tossing the second tomato back into the bin and licking the juice off her thumb. That one was just too soft. Youd think theyd sort their produce better than that.

Whats that got to do with choosing a college? I asked.

She stopped squeezing tomatoes for a moment. Mr. Bush went to Yale, she said. Hes always said that schools should be judged by their results. By the students they turn out. Jennifer really took that to heart.

I dont get it, I said. So why did she cross off Yale?

It was actually listening to the president-elect that did it, she said. After a while, he was driving Jennifer crazy. He cant talk without making a grammatical mistake. And he cant read a speech that somebody wrote for him. He tries to put the right amount of feeling into what hes reading, and he just cant match the meaning to the words. Its like listening to a tone-deaf choir sing The Star-Spangled Banner. Its embarrassing.

I suppose it is if you campaigned to be 221the education president, I agreed.

She had moved on to the melons, and was sniffing the end of a cantaloupe. Anyway, she said, Jennifer complained, 221Mom, we learned about subject-verb agreement in the eighth grade! Then she said that if thats what come out of that Phillips Academy-Andover, I think it was-and four years of Yale, shed rather go to a school that gives good value for its money.

Jennifer always was a practical person, I said.

Her face lit up. Were saving over twenty thousand a year this way, she agreed. Go Herd

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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