SAT Day, from a Parent

June 4, 2012 |

 For those with high school age children, you know Saturday was the SAT and SAT Subject (aka SAT II/Achievement) Test day. For those without high school age children, the pressure and anxiety is unfathomable. Unless you have an Olympic Gold Medal or are daughter of the President, if you don't score above the 95th percentile, you can probably forget about admission to a top school. And, even if you score in the top 96th percentile, it simply means your application will be read more carefully.

I was responsible for driving our daughter to a neighboring town's high school where the tests were being offered. I looked at Google maps before departing and planned my route. I left about 5 minutes of spare time because the morning was foggy and the roads were wet. The journey proceeded without incident, except that in one of those Murphy's Law moments, the road that Google maps said was supposed to be there — was not there at all. (The test location was the Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY. It's ranked among the top high schools in the country, and the town counts Bill and Hillary Clinton as residents. We're slightly envious of Chappaqua's high school, but we're not envious of their property taxes.

As we drove in circles around Chappaqua looking for the High School, we didn't see Bill Clinton at the local breakfast joint. But anyone watching the us, would have seen my face color grow increasingly red. And the color of my daughter's face grew increasingly pale. I eventually pulled over and plugged the destination into my SAT/NAV … and it directed me to take the Saw Mill Parkway North. This seemed highly improbable; but at this point, who was I to argue? The clock was ticking! The roads were very wet, so driving aggressively was not an option either… At the same time as my daughter was saying, "Dad, this isn't good," she was calling my wife at home asking her to Wiki the "new deal" the "fair deal" and the "square deal" — as she dealt with a presidential brain freeze.

Ultimately, the SAT/NAV was right and we arrived with time to spare. As my daughter departed the car, she said, "Dad, you had one job. And you screwed it up." Ouch. Seventeen years of hard work as a dad. All destroyed in an instant by Google! The reality is that I didn't screw it up. Google screwed it up. And when I pick her up, I'm going to explain to her that Google's incorrect location was clearly the work of "Flexions" trying to keep her out of Harvard — because that would have resulted in the student body's politics moving somewhat to the right. We'll see if she buys that explanation — and my paternal credentials can be restored….





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