1. Pick up a copy of a famous book, like Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.
2. Read the first sentence: “Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone hoped it would stay for the big weekend – the weekend of the Yale game.”
3. Stop before the second sentence and put the book facedown.
4. Remember the time when you interned at a publishing house and your boss went to Yale.
5. Think back specifically about the time he claimed he could smell different types of lettuce, although he was particularly skilled in distinguishing between arugula and iceberg, and told you so while you were eating a salad. An arugula salad, as he correctly guessed.
6. Open your laptop or pick up your phone and search via Firefox whether or not people actually can smell lettuce.
7. Understand that it’s difficult finding a general consensus of opinion among online commentators about this – most people think lettuce only smells when it’s gone bad. So in some ways, yes, you can smell lettuce, but it’s not a skill or gift one can really boast about.
8. Draft an email to your former boss who attended Yale. True, you haven’t interned in over one year, but he will most likely remember you. Plus, you are looking for a job.
9. Find an article about how to prevent lettuce from becoming bitter and attach it to the email with a subject line like, “Lettuce!” and then in the body of the email say something like, “Can you still smell lettuce? Hope all is well at the publishing house! I am looking for a job, so if you hear of anything…”
10. Don’t forget that the subtext of this email is, “You’re a damn dirty liar about smelling lettuce and I would never want to work for you,” but try not to let that anger appear on the surface.
11. But you are angry. You had a terrible boss. He typed like he wanted to break the keyboard and that was really grating. Everything about him makes you hate Yale.
12. With Firefox still open, look up Yale’s acceptance rate to determine his worth.
13. Nod bitterly because Yale is famously exclusive.
14. Weigh your options. You recently graduated and finally can admit you’ve always wanted to pursue a master’s degree in English. Imagine having the time to just read all day. Your other option is to find work.
15. Look up Yale’s application deadline and feel surprised when you realize you still have time. You’re doing this. You’re applying to Yale. But you need letters of recommendation.
16. Yes, it would be best to get a letter from someone who graduated from Yale.
17. Draft another email to your former boss, even though you just sent one a moment ago, saying you’ve decided to apply to Yale. Can you get a letter of recommendation?
18. It doesn’t matter that he went to Yale for something outside of the English Department, it just matters that he went to Yale.
19. Begin drafting emails to other undergraduate professors who found you tolerable and intelligent enough.
20. Start putting together your application materials. Think about Rory Gilmore. You are like Rory Gilmore. Sometimes people even tell you that you sound like her, but never do they say you look like her.
21. With Firefox still open, sign into Netflix and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls.
22. You start an episode when Rory’s still at Chilton, but stop it halfway and realize you should watch an episode from her time at Yale.
23. Take a nap.
24. Pick up Franny and Zooey tomorrow.