They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The GRE


I'm at the CUSP of taking it, having put it off three times already.

I'm having some confidence issues.

I have been dutifully spending all Saturday evenings in recent memory, not (as I probably ought to be) whoring myself across large swaths of Tampa's nightlife, but instead at a coffee shop in Hyde Park, studying through my practice book. I'm getting worked over by the English sections.

Long have I prided myself on not being a complete imbecile when it comes to the English Language, my math skills being pretty degenerate as it is. But noooo, the GRE is not content to let that small bit of pride alone.

I will go through a section of 20, get like 1 question wrong, and feel more or less at peace with it. Then, in the very next section, I'll get donkey-punched with 5 incorrectly answered questions, and then I will let forth, repeatedly, a string of sotto vocce obscenities; the likes of which Starbucks Patrons will let me know, via the Stink Eye, they do not appreciate. They are totally insipid and unscrutable. And so aren't these GRE questions.

Here's a (rough) example from memory:

"This park has been preserved in all its ________ wildness so that visitors in future years may see how people lived during the 18th century.

A. hedonistic
B. dog-beshitted
C. untrammeled
D. pristine
E. ghetto

The choice falls to untrammeled and pristine. Considering the two, I think to myself: Park. What PARK, let alone one from the 18th century, is going to be pristine, as in "pure and virginal state", as in "uncorrupted by civilization"? The very nature of a park is to be developed in something other than wildness and/or changed by mankind. Or do they mean that NOW that it's overgrown, it's become a pristine sort of wild? Well, that's weak. Also, how the dammit is anyone going to show off some damned Victorian (or is it Edwardian?) park, left in what is obviously an advanced state of disrepair (if they're only NOW talking about preserving it), if they're not going to engage in some serious slash and burn? That doesn't make sense. Now, untrammeled on the other hand, meaning "unrestricted" or "unconfined" sounds like a better match. They're talking about preserving it, opening it to the public. That sounds pretty unrestrictive to me. I mean, we're assuming that the park was closed previously, maybe while they cleaned out the MTBE and the syringes, and instead of building a gated golf community, it's remaining in its untrammeled wildness.*

It makes perfect sense to me.

It spells dimwit to graduate school admission boards.

I should get a Master's Degree in Sounding LIke I Know What I'm Talking About.

*(The correct answer is dog-beshitted. No, just kidding! It's Pristine. Which you probably guessed, didn't you? No wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know.)