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We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you’re smart. I finished my …...

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Einstein - Think

Filed Under , on May 18th, 2019

You’re Smart

By Seth Kabala

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you’re smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you’re smart. Anna, 11, eldest daughter and wise-ass, got out a blank piece of printer paper, wrote “I’m Smart” on it, and said, “Look, Dad, I’m smart.” No need for college for that one. She’s got the whole system figured out.

After thinking about her comment, I wonder if she’s onto something. I’m going to frame this column like an argument in favor of using power, wealth, and privilege to break all the rules, cheat the system, and get your kids into college, all while keeping merit tied up in the trunk.

Dear Dean of Students at Surprisingly Not Top-Tier College:

I am the mother of two darling girls, but enough about them. You remember me, right? From the TV show about the house and all the people. We were living in a home on the West Coast. Our residence made zero sense, because even when some of us went to work, it was hard to tell how our jobs could pay the mortgage. Why is it that I wrote this letter again? Oh, yes. Because I care so much about my darling girls.

Although they are darling, no doubt, having gained a significant amount of fame (though not as much as me) in their young years, they’re not the highest wattage bulbs in the hardware store, if you know what I mean. What do I mean? I’m not even sure. I just Googled “metaphors for not real smart” and this one came up. I trust the internet.

So anyway, since I’m still the most famous one, I need my darling girls to get the best education, because their wrinkles will inevitably overcome their star power (not as bright as mine). Along this line of thinking, I’ve written all the necessary academic, extracurricular, and athletic credentials they need on pieces of paper (actually napkins from a five-star restaurant, because I can afford it), one for each of them. Don’t bother asking for the original documents. I don’t know what happened to them. I’m a huge star. I can’t be bothered with petty details like remembering where official documents are. Or whether they exist at all. Ugh! Don’t get me started.

Please accept these documents I’ve created (handwritten for a more personalized touch. I’ve also signed the back for *wink, wink* some extra celebrity swag for you, in case, you know, you need to sell them at some point in the future, because, well, you know, you’re not as famous and rich as me), and let me know when my darling girls will be officially accepted into Surprisingly Not Top-Tier College.


The Most Famous Girl from the TV show about the house and all the people

If you noticed a correlation to the Varsity Blues scandal that has gobbled up name-brand celebrities, then you’re smart, too! As I tell my children, though, if they put half as much effort into doing things as they do complaining about doing things, they will be tremendously successful.

This whole situation sucks. Could I think of more eloquent ways to phrase that? Actually, no. I don’t think so. It deserves that moniker. It sucks balls. We all know there are aspects to our society that reek of fundamental unfairness. Power begets power. Wealth begets wealth. Talent and ability? They beget jobs at Starbucks for people with master’s degrees and PhDs. That’s not socialist policy talk; that’s hundreds of years of economic reporting thrown in your face. How do you like it? Is it cold?

I can make fun all day, but I’d rather have more innocent things to write about, like my daughter conjuring the idea of getting into the college of her choice, simply by writing “I’m Smart” on a piece of paper. It’s a fun game for us. Not for Lori Loughlin.

Lori will be writing “I’m Smart” on her women’s prison wall–right next to “WFT?!”


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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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