Apparently, I wasted my time in high school “studying.” I should have been on the fencing team.
At least that’s what the Sunday New York Times says. New Jersey high school students are adding fencing to their insane array of “gotta get into the Ivy League or I’ll never be a pet psychologist” schemes. As if $5,000 SAT prep courses and $10,000 admissions-official bribes aren’t enough.
Looking back, I wish I had known about the magic of sword-fighting before I sold my left kidney to pay for that Albanian physics tutor in 11th grade. To this day, I still can only drink half the daily Guinness required of me by my Irish heritage.
Not that my high school had a fencing team. We just had regular Philadelphia public-school sports like football, volleyball and running really fast from muggers.
Kind of like Temple, except we do have a fencing team. (And I bet they could beat our football team in a game of two-hand touch. Actually, make that tackle.)
The article says fencing is a way to be different and stand out from the crowd on a college application. So, of course, everyone is doing it now. Pretty soon, all those fencers will be stuck coming to Temple, joining the ranks of those who spent their pre-college years practicing competitive Pog-playing. Maybe they can join the football team.
Actually, the thought of everyone in New Jersey knowing how to fence is kind of scary. Think about it. Next time you go down the shore, you may not only be harassed by punk skateboarders on the boardwalk, but by punk skateboarders with swords!
Or when you get into an argument at the arcade over who is the all-time best at Dance Dance Revolution 2, and the other guy pulls out an épée.
Kind of makes the switchblade “letter opener” you bought in Chinatown look lame.
On the positive side, think how fencing skills could have helped New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey. “I am a gay American. But I am a gay American who can kick your ass in a sword fight.” That makes a much better sound bite.
But a benefit like that far outweighs one other consequence.
If everyone had a sword, there would be a vast increase in the number of people doing bad impressions of Brad Pitt in Troy. If that happens, the terrorists will have won.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against fencing. In fact, I think it would be fun to dress up in an all-white suit, carry a sword and poke people.
Wait. Isn’t that how Michael Jackson got into trouble?
I think I’ll stick with running from muggers.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.