|I began talking with Reed graduates and undergraduates.
They were some of the most interesting people Ive ever met,
each one eccentric in his or her own way, and all excited to talk
about Reed. They were also wary of making Reed seem merely a place
for cigarette-smoking intellectuals debating deep thoughts under dim
lights. Everyone warned me that studying at Reed was the hardest theyd
ever worked, explaining that intense motivation and a drive for excellence
are necessary qualities for success.
|The food was good, the graffiti was funny, and
I was able to argue with a theater major about Ralph Nader and give
my pizza crust to a hungry philosophy major. No one was narrow-minded
and everyone was smartand that is extremely cool.
|It was the first college where the security guard
played pool with the students.
||I want to go somewhere where I can
change a teachers mind, where I can stay up arguing about environmentalist
economics and whether the Leviathan has ever existed, whether time
is an axis and if it can run backwards, how quintessence can weigh
so much, and whether the arbitrary can ever be correct. I want to
attend a college where leisure isnt always 180 proof, where
sports are for fun, and where life is an exotic fruit to be studied,
probed, but also to be swallowed whole. I want to be with all different
kinds of people, but with people who have that insatiable drive to
understand, and who love it for the power that it gives them to move
and shape themselves, their compatriots, and the world. I want to
attend Reed College because of what I have become, not a somnambulist
dutifully trodding my way to college but an intellectual explosion,
waiting for a spark plug.
||Reed College is an intellectual hedonists
|Id love to drive a motorized couch.
||My most infamous association with Reed
took place long ago. It happened in a basement coffee shop that no
longer exists. I couldnt have been any older than three at the
time. I was sitting with my fatherwho was still a professor
therewhen I spontaneously decided to stand up, walk to the middle
of the room, gag, and die a terrifying and dramatic death. (Oh, the
immunity of youth.) After a moment of silent surprise, a single Reed
student shamelessly stood up and did the same . . . then another.
. . and another. It wasnt long before the whole coffee shop
had keeled over and died right there on the floor. Any group with
that much collective integrity is all right by me.
|Its not necessarily the fact
that I want to return to painting with my fingers, but I would like
to be able to color outside the lines without being told that Im
|Then, one day,
while wandering the woods in search of fungi, my Walt Whitman-esque
field biology teacher paused in reflection on the leaves of grass
and, staring me straight in the eyes, whispered, Have you ever
heard of Reed College?
for this group of bright, highly chargedfirst-year students, and the rest
of Reed College, begin August 27)