A great man who was not even real once said, “once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. “ As I attempt to frame my personal statements for various graduate programs, I have been forced into the necessity of applying the principle of systematic elimination to the range of permissible subjects which can be alluded to in an attempt to describe myself. As many of you know, due to a long history of incidents and mortifications, I am strictly prohibited from having ideas, and there seems to be some collusion to prevent me from updating my facebook status or using the phone, although no one will actually confirm this, and Mike has taken the precaution of padlocking the cooking wine, as if I would make the mistake of going to work drunk more than twice a week. In any event, I have compiled a by no means exhaustive list of proscribed topics for my personal statement, and would welcome any further contributions in case I have forgotten to list them below, for example the play I wrote about the talking toilet from New Jersey that should probably NOT grace my resume of personal accomplishments but TOO LATE! Everyone has mentioned that a personal statement should touch on some unique experience or influence which will distinguish you, but APPARENTLY the following are unacceptable.
1) My illustrious history of independent scientific exploration. This is really too bad since I now have irrefutable evidence as to why pop rocks are not included in any organic chemistry laboratory experiment, the least effective way to make a milkshake out of a doughnut, and a number of compelling rationalizations for why you should not attempt to launch a car off the ground.
2) The time I almost had to go to jail for stealing dirt. I bet most of you did not even know this was illegal. I bet the admissions boards have never even considered the question. This kind of hands on learning is what qualifies me for programs about the ethics of scientific exploration. Evidently this is an irrational supposition.
3) The fact that my grandmother thinks I am a prostitute. I’ll admit that I am probably not the only person in this situation, as it seems likely that actual prostitutes might arouse some serious suspicion, what with the snakeskin shorts and names like “Kandy.” The difference being, in my opinion, that I WORK IN A HOSPITAL. If any of you have ever been to the UWMC, you will know that it has a strict “No full release” policy, because that would constitute a conflict of interest or something. I know this because after I realized that my position was open to so many lurid constructions, I checked. This demonstrates my commitment to investigate all reasonable hypotheses. HOW IS THAT INNAPPROPRIATE?
4) How I almost got my neighbor’s house demolished. See, I don’t even OWN the house but I totally nearly succeeded in hiring someone to tear it down. And you think this is not a prime illustration of my credibility and diplomacy? Sheesh.
5) The time I shot a monkey. The only problem with this statement is that it’s not quite as awesome as it sounds once I elaborate. Otherwise I think it would be completely effective in convincing any committee that I have vast and inimitable experience.
6) My brief (albeit critical) contribution to the destruction of a theme park. It occurred to me that a number of my distinguishing experiences have to do with wrecking things. I don’t really see a problem with this, but then again, I’m not allowed outside.
7) How I learned that you can actually be prosecuted for mockery. In all fairness, I actually discovered this while learning about postal fraud. But I think it’s still a legitimate example of my vast wealth of abstruse knowledge. Every school needs a person like that. I’d be the go-to guy for questions about Charles Dickens and what kind of animals can invade your urethra. I fail to see how this is not a win-win situation for us all, but I am willing to concede that you may have a point.
8) My career as an author of children’s books. This is not so much shameful as it is potentially actionable or traumatizing. Either way I am not going to expand on this point just in case the publishing company decides to lower the restraining order and accept my manuscripts. I refuse to believe that you would be prevented from plagiarizing my brilliant ideas simply because you don’t yell at the TV during Star Trek. Also I don’t believe you when you say you never do that.
9) Any award I received in high school. I’m not going to pretend they were as appalling as “Most likely to use a graduate school education to set fire to an orphanage” or anything, but I have been informed that “king “is not a persuasive or a recognized accolade, nor is “most inventive use of limbless amphibians.” You are just jealous.
10) The time I got trapped in a whorehouse. This is an actual thing which actually happened to me and contrary to all indices is not an exaggeration and was also truly unexpected and only kind of funny while it was happening. SEE?!? UNIQUE.