Henry’s First College Essay!

Back in the Fall of 2010 Henry had a first bash at writing his MIT college essay. The question was:

Have you ever experienced a moment of epiphany, as if your eyes were opened to something you were previously blind to?

“I assure you that the sheer bone-bristling dread involved in being subject to the heaven-forbid-able nightmare that is water-sand-sandal syndrome is so immense that it can burst blubbering tears from the most stalwart of beach bros. This was the conclusion I had reached after some awfully unpleasant childhood beach outings. How could anyone bear such unrelenting punishment? It was a mystery indeed, and a lurking fear that used to plague each and every sunny summer day.

So when I found my friend Klara knocking at my door on a small teardrop of an island 428 miles from home, I knew fate was stirring its great cauldron. “Maybe we could go to the beach,” she proposed, presenting me with a decision to make. However, this was no ordinary decision – it was the kind of medieval fork in the road that foreshadows valiant struggles, great deeds, and fast steeds. After a moment’s consideration I agreed.

A bit later, we were bumping along in the trunk of some kind of sedan. Klara, her brother, and I were all seated against the wall, facing to the side, such that if we were mounted on little train rails and the context were a bit different, we would be the textbook definition of a transverse wave. This was not the case for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that we did not have any railroad enabled booster seats. I was just sitting cross legged, and the others were hugging their knees. The conversation left the realm of silence as her brother Abe asked me how I stayed so thin. I replied with a shrug, “I eat ice cream.”

Stepping out onto the great expanse of sand, we quickly launched into a vigorous game of Frisbee, the sport I am the most practiced in. Now, this is where fate struck forth, placing me in a situation of true peril. After a blur of action, I found myself falling down toward the first wave of the surf with the disk in my hand. A few moments later, after the landing, I was noting the oh-so-granulated sand of the beach in the context of the water splashing about my feet, the horror settling in like a damp cloth dropped onto a mop supported by a bucket with a built-in wringer. However, Frisbee etiquette never flinches, so I prepared to toss it before anyone had the opportunity to gasp with dismay at my disk-clutching nature. Stepping into a beautiful arabesque in order to reach an ideal disk velocity, I cast it away, and then launched into an immaculate grand jeté back to shore.

When upon touching the beach I did not enter a Tartarus of sand-on-skin friction, I was so far beyond dumbstruck that ‘shocked’ ceased to be a functional synonym. It took a minute of awestruck staring at my shins to recover from the experience. At this point, I was hit by an epiphany so poignant that I became a grade school redhead transfixed by an approaching water balloon of realization and remaining agape, even as the aquatic detonation sends him tottering to and fro. I instantly began to revise my vacation schedule and priorities to the outdoorsy side of the spectrum as I felt every single value I owned realign itself with the new deafening reality that I had discovered on this oasis of land in the middle of a great sea: beaches aren’t so bad.”

  1. Mark Zimmerman - March 6, 2015 3:07 am

    We all enjoyed it when Henry was around! I have vivid memories of that day! I was the driver of ‘some kind of a sedan’!


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