The question you think a selective college should ask. How would you answer it?

1. How do you feel about Wednesday?

Wednesday is a day that really shouldn’t be spelled that way at all. I believe that whoever translated that day knew nothing about the English language. If they really wanted “Wednesday” to be a day to remember during the week, they should have spelled it correctly: “Winsday.” Now this would be a day that I would look forward to. Knowing that I could “Win” at something on “Winsday” would definitely be a mid-week treat!

2. How did you get caught? (Or not caught, as the case may be.)

Two weeks after I was able to ride a bike again I entered my first race of the season. Surgery had kept me confined to pedaling indoors. The basement were I was kept was void of natural light, instead illuminated by a tiny TV that played Lance Armstrong’s “Time Trial Training” and chirped optimistic music. Still in that artificial light, I reflected the characters onscreen, confident and convinced these indoor sessions would prepare me for race season.

I was totally fed up so I started working part time from home by writing college admission essay and custom admission essay for an organization.

That race started out better than expected. Contrasting the year before, there was no hail, no icy roads and no wind following the common belief that 10 mph above the highway speed limit is an acceptable velocity. Last year I came in third in the junior’s race, but I needed more of a challenge. I registered myself with the two lap category four riders. This group between one lap category 5 “beginner” riders and stronger three lap category 3 riders, left me in a field of “know just enough to be dangerous” riders. I certainly fit that description. Indoor training made me fit enough but other components weren’t there. The saying “you never forget how to ride a bike” is only partially true. Two weeks of riding can’t prepare you for knocking elbows in a turn, slipping on gravel or the soreness in the hands and seat found after traversing miles of chewed pavement on skinny tires.

I managed to hang with the lead pack for twenty miles. Around the final turn of the first lap, in front of a long climb back to the start area there was a wipe out, separating me from the leaders? The pack climbed onward but an effort usually reserved for the sprint brought me to pack once again. Halfway completed, twenty one miles in, as I pedaled through the start/finish banner I was dropped. My brief triumph of catching up put tiredness in me I’ve only felt since in the last meters of a championship rowing race and final miles of 100 mile “century” self imposed time trials. I biked alone for a few long miles, facing the wind alone drained the remaining energy out. Then I was caught. Caught by the other stragglers, caught by other races but most of all caught by the knowledge there exists a title lower than dead last. I imagined “Christian Ruud – DNF” on the bottom of the results page. DNF did not finish. The results never explain why, usually it’s assumed that a mechanical issue or crash took the rider out. Occasionally though, it’s someone who has given up. For the last 15 miles I raced the cornrows and cracks in the road, fueled by a hatred of the idea that I would commit only to go back on the promise I had made to myself.

The results of that race are online. My name is printed on the very bottom in 41st place. It was a full field that day of 50, but mercifully the event organizers didn’t publish the nine DNFs. Some people are driven because they cannot accept losing. That race, while one of my worst is one of my proudest. I can accept losing, in competition I’m most scared of coming across the line with energy left. After 42 miles, I finished as the start/finish banner was being taken down. I was on the verge of collapsing, completely emptied but I was anything but defeated.

3. Write a haiku, limerick, or short poem that best represents you.

I will give you a limerick that represents my user name. :~)

Epona’s the goddess of horse
Leah’s my first name of course
when merged side-by-side
whether I walk or I ride
I borrow the goddesses force.

All in fun… I don’t really think I am a goddess!

4. Can a toad hear? Prove it.

“Pickled Toads? No, Just Scientists”
By Charles S. Kroter
Published in “Scientific American”, pages 13-14. December 16, 2002.

There is a question on the collective mind of the scientific community. It is: how many beers can the average scientist drink and still perform basic research?

In the spirit of increasing knowledge, my colleagues and I sat down with a couple of six-packs and started counting. When we couldn’t remember if seven was followed by green or holly-jolly, we knew we were sloppier than soup sandwiches.

We then addressed the question that would be on the aforementioned mind if it wasn’t so saturated with alcohol: can toads hear? Actually, none of us really cared at that point. There were still unopened cans on the table. Whichever of us was still speaking intelligibly moved that our experiment be cheap, fast, and easy. Someone else suggested we study women instead of toads, but he passed out, so the motion was ignored.

Anyway, someone found three test subjects. The first was an Eastern American Toad, Bufo americanus americanus. It was two-and-a-half inches long, mottled brown in color.

The second was Toad, Royal Mushroom Retainer, friend of the Nintendo hero Mario. He was two-and-a-half feet tall and wore a strange white hat with red spots.

The last test subject is also known as Toad, given name Todd Tolenski. He was kind of dirty, smelled like a swamp, and is a sworn enemy of the Marvel Comics hero team, the X-Men.

The three subjects were randomly assigned the code letter A, B, or C, and placed in curtained cubicles. They were then shown a set of automated questions presented in a variety of formats. Responses were recorded by a blind observer, who for some reason was still fairly sober.

First question: on TV screens, the three subjects were shown a photograph of a mosquito. Touch pads on their desks then showed the same picture along with a photograph of a banana. A: touches the mosquito; B: touches the mosquito; C: touches the mosquito (a strange green slime drips from beneath the curtain).

Second question: the screen showed “Touch the toad.” The pad presented a photograph of a toad, and a photograph of a human. A: no response; B: touches the human; C: no response (a laugh is heard).

Third question: a recorded voice said, “Touch the tree.” The pad presented a photograph of an oak tree, and a photograph of the head scientist’s youngest child lying on a bear rug, completely na-

Sorry. There was an error in the test. The study team estimates that this mix-up did not affect the final results. A: touches the tree (a shout of “Okay!” is heard); B: touches the tree, touches the unintended picture a fraction of a second later; C: touches the tree (“Yo, are we done yet? When do I get paid?”).

Final results: Subject A produced two correct responses, and one no response. Subject B gave one correct response, one incorrect response, and one noncommittal response. Subject C produced two correct responses, one no response, and some really gross slime.

The subjects performed best on the picture test, and worst on the written command. All responded correctly (on the first try, at least) to the spoken prompt. This indicates that toads cannot read, but can see and hear.

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