芝加哥大学2017-18年度主题为What's your armor的文书分享



既然芝大能把各种Geeks网罗进Hyde Park,你就不要奇怪哪天被人问到"what can be divided by zero",或者"why did the chicken cross the road"。等进来后,你也有机会制造属于你的问题。

所以,芝大录取的文书,几乎篇篇都是奇文。即使在那些不被录取的里面也不乏奇文,它们只是不够打动AO罢了。下面就来读一篇奇文中的奇文。这是一篇2017-18年度主题为What's your armor的文书。这是当年Supplement #2里的第四个Option。来,看看你是否读懂它。

【UChicago Supplement Essay】

The late New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham once said "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don't think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization." Tell us about your "armor."

Essay byanonymous inclass 2022

I won't knock on wood for luck if the wood isn't demonstrably pure as the waters of the Piscine Molitor. When I say I won't, I don't mean that I will knock on a table, or a bench occasionally through gritted teeth if I'm in dire need of cosmic intervention, no, I mean I will not, under any circumstance, on a train, a plane, or even in Spain, knock on anything other than natural, uncoated in any way, wood. I recognize the scientific irrationality, not just of superstitions, but of being picking nits within a particular superstition. I have my reasons. Two years ago, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stumbled across a disconcerting "fact" that probably wasn't a fact. The post asserted that more than ninety-percent of all wooden tables, benches, chairs, etc are not, in fact, strictly wooden.

Rather, they are a mix of synthetic materials and wood. Granted, in most cases, the synthetic is likely just a coat of protective varnish, but you see, that tarnishes the product for the superstitious. It was a moment of earth-shattering ramifications. In a matter of three seconds, I questioned every bit of trust I'd ever placed in the universe. It all seemed futile, meaningless. Now, I'm not knocking on wood, I'm knocking on wood that has been coated once, twice, ninety-six times with preservative varnish. At that point, it's just a synthetic graveyard with a foundation of wood.

There is no luck to be found in an ungodly cemetery of bones like that. I might as well knock on glass, or grass, or a plastic container. It surpasses trivial in the scheme of things, but imagine I were to have something especially important looming, something that has the potential to frame the context of the rest of my life, something like college applications. Why would I take a chance on something that merely resembles pure wood for luck? I wouldn't. I'd run straight outside, find the nearest tree (the only real guarantee), and knock until my knuckles resembled shredded calf-liver. It's really not worth the risk. Why does it even matter, though? Who, and/or what enforces frivolous matters like outdated pseudo-religious compulsions? I like to imagine that there is a being in charge of each superstition, both the common and obscure.

The Being of Repetition would oversee all attempts to cheat one's destiny by uttering a word thirty-seven times, the Being of Self-Induced Discomfort would superintend those who hold their breath while they cross bridges or drive past cemeteries, and the Being of Sylvan Knocks would assure that not a single soul who bops their knuckles on a tarnished, synthetic-wood abomination receives their prize of favor. This being watches and keeps tabs on those foolish enough to put their faith in the preternatural equivalent of fool's gold, and shames them by leaving their worlds deservedly unaltered. However, those who are devoted enough to search out the nearest tree and give it a few raps for good measure, will find magnificent rewards from their generous karmic sugar daddy.

Call me a purist, call me ridiculous, but I'm convinced that this is the indisputable truth. So convinced, in fact, that those closest to me have picked up on my idiosyncratic neurosis. I've been lucky enough to enjoy the friendship of observant souls, one of whom, named Jack, happens to be a skilled woodworker. Upon confessing to him my cognitive dissonance of being vehemently non-superstitious, while also controlled like a marionette by this irrational belief, he took it upon himself to, at the very least, ease the inconvenience of finding a tree in my panic. He gave me a teardrop-shaped, knuckle-sized piece of pure wood. Not just that, but he put a small hole in it so that it would fit on my keychain. I carry it everywhere.

I give it a little knock every now and then just for the extra luck. Knowing that no matter the place, no matter the scenario, I'm always in the good graces of the Being of Sylvan Knocks means that I never again have to add "find a tree" to my mental to-do list. It means release—means freedom. Maybe one day I'll get over my manneristic malady, but until that day comes, I'll keep carrying my teardrop everywhere I go, and hope that Jack never tells me that my charm is anything less than Piscine pure, unadulterated luck. Knock on wood, right?


这篇Knock Wood文书只有两、三处生字。比如Piscine Molitor、sylvan或者karmic。这些其实并不影响读懂它的意义。但是,读过的人们都只惊艳此文的想像力语言,没有谁真正读懂它。

作者使用了不寻常的暗喻手法,隐藏了本文的真实意境。读懂它了,你才会感慨一个未来Maroon的精致心思,仿佛你是透过一片金箔面具看清那法老的不朽面容。正是如此,这篇Konck Wood的奇文,才更具学习的价值。

主题:Only knock pure wood


细节:Jack the observant soul

全篇的场景描述的舞台色彩浓厚,仿佛一个童话剧的主角在讲述故事。但不得不说,这些并非我们要说的细节。近结尾处引出一个给"我"泪滴形纯木的朋友叫Jack,是本文唯一的细节。去芝大AO List中查询,不难找出叫Jack者和他的管片。不过,现在看到的已不是2017年安排。

诉求:Knock on wood, right?








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