My College Application Essay, Which I Am Apparently Required to Write Even Though My Mom Was “Aunt Jackie” On That One Sitcom Twenty Years Ago

Editor’s note: this is an essay I submitted to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency in 2019. They chose not to publish it, the bastards. So I’m archiving it here instead.

Children inherit many things from their parents. Some inherit their eye color. Others inherit their male pattern baldness (which, omg, yuck). But I inherited something more special than any of those. Something so special that few children in the world can even understand it.

I inherited my Mom’s IMDB filmography.

I first realized what this inheritance would mean for my life when I was just eight years old. Mom and I had gone to Chipotle for lunch. Neither of us had ordered guac, but the guy behind the counter just winked as he added a little container of guac to each of our trays and said “it’s on the house, Aunt Jackie.”

In that moment, my life changed forever.

It’s hard to explain to people whose parents didn’t play supporting characters on popular ‘90s sitcoms exactly what it means to have a parent who did play a supporting character on a popular ‘90s sitcom. It means freedom. Freedom to follow your dreams, no matter what dumb, useless place they take you to.

Having a parent who played a supporting character on a popular ‘90s sitcom means giving your dreams the wings they need to take flight.

Deep inside their secret heart, every person has a dream of what they want to be. But realizing that dream can, I am told, be pretty hard. Many people never reach it, even after a lifetime of struggle and grinding, unheralded work. Which is why I am thankful that my Mom played Aunt Jackie on that one sitcom, because all that sounds like a total bummer.

Which is not to say that I don’t believe in the value of work. Hard work is the thing that separates successful people from everyone else. That’s why I have committed myself 100% to everything that I’ve done, whether it was posing next to products on Instagram in exchange for money, coming up with hashtags for my Instagram posts where I pose next to products in exchange for money, or even writing this very essay.

In all these things, I have tried to live up to the example my Mom set for me with the commitment she brought to delivering Aunt Jackie’s famous catchphrase, “Not THIS Again!” Her commitment to delivering that line still echoes down to us all. Just look at the many “Not THIS Again!” T-shirts you can buy in South Padre Island or Cabo San Lucas to this day. Every one of those T-shirts testifies to the impact my Mom had on the world; an achievement which is naturally mine by association.

And now, as I near adulthood, I seek to demonstrate that commitment to the next level by entering the world of higher education. I want to become something more than I am; to boost my follower count in ways that only a graduate of an elite institution can. As Google tells me Vin Diesel once said, “it wasn’t until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed.”

Don’t think for a minute that I believe myself entitled to these experiences, though. I have no expectation that anyone will buy me a motorcycle.

I understand that admission to a good college is something that people compete fiercely for. I understand that this application will be just one among many, and that, if you are reading this, you will have to make some difficult decisions about who to admit and who not to. As you consider each candidate, though, I would humbly ask you to keep one question in mind: “did this applicant come out of the vagina of the woman who played Aunt Jackie on that one sitcom twenty years ago?”

That is not a distinction that many can lay claim to. I am proud to say that I can.

Oh, and if it helps, my dad owns a clothing company and is therefore totally loaded.