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Vol. 16, No. 3, 2017
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Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

the decisive edge for admission to elite colleges



Gary Olson is Professor Emeritus at Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA. He is the author of How the World Works, U.S. Foreign Policy,Third World Peasant and The Other Europe.


To: Exceptional High School Juniors
From: Elite College Admissions (ECA) in Cambridge, MA.
Subj: The Fat Envelope Advantage

Congratulations! You are receiving this e-mail message because you've scored 1550 or higher on the new SATs and maintained at least a 4.04 GPA.

Are you still looking for that decisive edge that sets you apart from tens of thousands of other applicants to Stanford, Harvard and Princeton? Your peers will be ladling soup at homeless shelters and collecting used toys for the Ronald McDonald House, but how many will have volunteered at a leper colony in India?

ECA had signed an exclusive agreement with the Agondi Leper Colony in Goa, India. Located on the Arabian Sea coast, the area is known for its white sand beaches, flora and fauna and kayaking. Your deluxe suite at the Taj Exotica Hotel (5 stars) is only a short, air-conditioned van ride from your one hour per day of service at the colony.

Because we are staffed entirely by Ivy League graduates, we know that admissions officers place a premium on essays that detail the HOW and WHY of your international experience, not only a description. We pride ourselves on writing college application essays that are indistinguishable from your own voice, and this allows us to convey your transparent commitment to caring about India's underserved lepers.

Our foolproof essay includes a bibliography showing your immersion in the topic. And, to avoid a verbal faux pas while at the colony, we include a list of insensitive comments. Examples: “Lend me a hand,” “gimme some skin,” and any "pull my finger" jokes.

The politically correct and medical term for leprosy is Hansen's Disease. But at ECA we still prefer ‘leper’ because this works to your advantage. Agondi Colony patients are no longer infectious, but the stigma and ignorance surrounding leprosy means that unenlightened admissions officers will be bowled over by your intrepid courage and boundless empathy.

The committee will see an on-site video of you mingling with victims’ blindness, severed limbs, and hideous facial disfigurations. Squeamish being around crippling deformities? We can photoshop you giving Mother Teresa worthy embraces and shaking claw-like hands. In short, your application will wrench tears from the most jaded ‘We've Seen It All’ officials.

Note: This opportunity is strictly time limited because only sixteen of the original 3,000 patients at Agondi are still alive, the youngest at 81 and the oldest 95. Bit by bit, we anticipate a precipitous drop-off to occur. Worse yet, the capacity now exists to eradicate leprosy worldwide, so act quickly.

Cost: $25,000 for two weeks, plus airfare. For an additional fee, side trips to Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore are available. Only twenty-five students will be accepted for Summer 2017.


Gary's Knots from the Underground Satires:
The Chia Cartel
Refugees Welcome
A Satire on Impermissible Satire
Business School for Psychopathic Predators
CIA Seeks to Keep Fear Alive
Modest Proposal: Franchising Beheadings
The Zika Virus & Big Pharma

Also by Gary Olson:
Cultivating Empathy
On the Birth of ISIS
Can Capitalism Save Itself
Manufacturing Memory
Unmaking War, Remaking Man
Rifkin and Singer




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Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
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