Use A Number 2 Pencil (And Try Not To Piss Off The Taliban)

You may heard about Malala Yousafzai.  She’s the young Pakistani woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to fight for the rights of women to receive educations in a part of the world where females are often treated like 3rd class citizens . 

Seeing that she’s such a strong advocate for education, it seems logical that Ms. Yousafzai would want to pursue a college degree.  Malala stated that she’d condider attending Oxford or perhaps Stanford.  It was reported that if she was interested the latter, she would have to take the SAT’s.  After all, the prestigious California school get lots of applicants and she needs to prove she can do well enough on standardized tests to hang with the big boys.

Skip the SAT's - who the hell does she think she is?! (Stanford cut and paste tree logo courtesy of the author's mad smart phone skills).
Skip the SAT’s?? – who the hell does she think she is?!  FYI: If she wears that red scarf to homecoming, I’m gonna puke!  (Stanford cut and paste tree logo courtesy of the author’s mad smart phone skills).

I can just picture the scene*…

Setting: The lights rise to reveal a small, windowless room.  A red letter “S” with a skinny tree in front of it adorns the wall.  A woman and two men sit at a table surrounded by stacks of paper.  Each has a laptop or tablet glowing in front of them.  Empty cups from fair trade coffee vendors and organic snack bags lay between the papers and computers.  The waste basket recycling can in the corner is barely visible beneath an avalanche of  crumpled paper.

ARTHUR:     What about this Yousafzai kid?

BURTON:     Simple: incomplete application – she had no SAT scores reported.  Stamp her rejected, we keep the application fee and she goes to her safety school or re-applies next year.  What do you two think of this next applicant, Tiffany Amber Carwell?

CANDACE:     Wait Burt, it says the Yousafzai girl won some awards.  Apparently she’s a pretty big deal in Pakistan.

ARTHUR:     Candace, this Carwell kid won some awards too, AND she took her stinking SAT’s like she was supposed to!

BURTON:     Christ Candy!  We can’t keep making exceptions every time some kid has test anxiety or something!

CANDACE:     It was the freaking Nobel Peace Prize, Arty, not 2nd place in the science fair at Clearview High.

ARTHUR:     Clearview is a top notch school, Candace.  You’re being antagonistic and I don’t care for your tone.  For your information, I placed fourth in my junior year science fair, so that should tell you how competitive it is at Clearview.

BURTON:     You two need to stop squabbling so we can move on.  It’s a done deal; no SAT’s, no consideration.  Like I said before, the kid is probably one of those test anxiety cases.  Those kids need to toughen up.

CANDACE:     I don’t know Burt, I think this one’s pretty tough.  Says here the Taliban put out a hit on her.

ARTHUR:     The Carwell girl raised money for a local soup kitchen and volunteered to read stories to local preschoolers…two years varsity field hockey, co-captain her senior year….AP classes in history and French!

BURTON:     You know, that field hockey is pretty rough.  My daughter Allie caught a stick right in the chops, needed 12 stitches.  I think that scar on her chin had a little something to do with her deciding to focus on trying out for the madrigals instead of playing her senior year.  She almost made the cut too.

CANDACE:      Guys!  The Yousafzai girl…

BURTON:     Are you still on that one?!  Get with the program Candy, put her in the reject pile and tell us if you agree on Tiffany Amber Carwell.

ARTHUR:     Seriously Candy, look at all these applications, we’ve got a long way to go.

CANDACE:     I don’t believe you two!  This girl was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin!

Arthur and Burton look at Candace silently, then back at one another.  Arthur straightens the stack of papers in his hands, Burton looks intently at his laptop screen.

ARTHUR:     In the head?

BURTON:     Well then, she’s dead, right?

ARTHUR:     Brain injured?

CANDACE:    No.  She’s not dead and she’s not brain injured.  She’s the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, and she did it by being an activist for women’s rights to get an education.  She celebrated her 18th birthday by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.

BURTON:     Okay Candy, if you’re not going to let this go, I guess we’ll reconsider Yousafzai.

ARTHUR:     Did she play a sport or belong to any clubs in high school?

Candace puts her head in her hands.  Lights dim, and curtain.

* I tried to put this little vignette in play script format, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.  It’s not like I’m a Stanford grad, or even a Nobel Prize laureate.







12 thoughts on “Use A Number 2 Pencil (And Try Not To Piss Off The Taliban)

  1. Fabuloso post, as usual.

    I hate to say it, but I agree about the test thing. This young woman is obviously special and wonderful and brilliant and courageous. That is not in question. The question here is does she have the ability to do the WORK required at this university. The testing is intended to determine that bottom-line capability, and, although tests have obvious drawbacks, we don’t have a better way to gauge that.

    If she wouldn’t be able to pass Freshman Algebra, which many students cannot do, it doesn’t do her any good to set her up for failure.

    Climbing off soapbox.

    1. As someone who excels at standardized tests, I should be inclined to agree, but I think they could bend the rules in her case. If she ends up failing, then Stanford can brag about flunking out a Nobel Prize laureate – talk about prestige!

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