I am prepared to summarize the primary objective of the American university in two words: Lawn Care.
We’re on the road, my son Crawford and I. It’s time to visit colleges, and our schedule is brutal. Hot car, blinding sun, 12 colleges in 10 days, Ann Arbor to Sewanee. Onward we drive, Zevon on the stereo, afternoon into night, our mission fueled by gas-station coffee and Doritos. When we stop, it is for college admissions tours, barbecue, and, on one occasion, a broken alternator belt. I don’t even like to think about how far we have traveled.
The trip has revealed aspects of university life previously unfamiliar to me. Based on our extensive research, I am prepared to summarize the primary objective of the American university in two words: Lawn Care. Never have I seen such careful attention to landscaping. The clipped shimmer of the grass at these American universities would put Augusta National to shame. Equally impressive are the campus golf carts, each one piloted by a middle-aged groundskeeper wearing a baseball cap. Our prize for Most Outstanding Golf Cart: Swarthmore College, where we spotted a Shriner-sized vehicle that resembled a miniature, air-conditioned RV.