Your RDA of Irony

Reading Between the Lines

This month the postman has the added onus of delivering rejection letters from colleges. It is the one time of year when it is more dangerous to be a mailman in Newton, Massachusetts than Kandahar, Afghanistan. All the rejection letters will have a funereal politeness…”We truly regret the opportunity to include a superb student like you in the very, very, small class of 2019….”

But what they really are saying…


There are only so many stars in the heavens and Gods in the pantheon, but you will not be one of them. Someone has to be inferior, and you do have the consolation of being in the vast majority. Of course, now you can apply to Yale or Stanford. However, we will be sending those schools our rejection list, letting them know that they are your second choice.


Even if the economy were better and our governor less of a sociopath, we still would have rejected you. But we are really sorry that this letter came postage due.


Prima facie, you are rejected. And if you don’t know what prima facie means, quod erat demonstrandum.


Whoa dude, do you know what it takes to get rejected by us? Probably from doing what you were planning to do here. So, it’s like you already graduated.


Congratulations! You are a runner-up on our admissions list! Your prize includes avoiding all those annoying references to Ann-Margret and Charlton Heston! And good luck as you advance to the state university competitions!


Your scholastization vectors undercede our operational parameters. Artillerily, you missed.


You didn’t have to open this envelope, you didn’t have to read this letter, you knew the cruel, overwhelming odds against you, and yet something in your blood damned and defied the odds and the grade point averages and the massed muskets on Seminary Ridge, and with quickening pulse you open the envelope and are reading this letter, and knowing you’ve lost, be proud that you dared.


Please ignore the plum sauce stains on this letter. Between translating Frederich von Hayek into Klingon, and writing rejection letters, I have to eat at my desk. If it is any solace, these moo shu pancakes are really good.

  1. Tosh says:

    If it is any consolation for any poor prospective undergraduate when the brillant friend of my youngest son drafted him to write rejection letters of a similar format to the other esteemed programs he decided not to uplift with his 4.0 Math Degree from Harvey Mudd College. I know every true trekie is now checking google whether this is a real college – hint it is. My eldest really really really wanted to go there.

    We regret to inform you that you are not nearly nerdy enough to think about being one of the 450 students per year who get to attend Mudd. On the plus side, you are not nearly nerdy enough to really have a chance to survive at Mudd. If there was a girl accepted from your school instead of you, she’s a precious commodity at a Tech school – get over it.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      I know that it is a real school; but “Harvey Mudd” does sound like an unsympathetic character on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

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