3 R’s of Prix-School: Reading, Writing And Remuneration

Dear Parent:

Thank you for requesting an application to our preschool.

As you are no doubt aware, the Prada-Blahnik school enjoys a singular reputation in Manhattan: Prestigious, but non-elitist. Progressive, but structured. Warm and creative, but cognizant of the need to prepare your 3-year-old for the competitive rigors of life ahead as a banker, lawyer or plutocrat.

Our non-sexist, multicultural, ethics-enhanced curriculum is designed to encourage the growth of the individual child, with a special emphasis on networking and anger management.

Naturally, we can’t guarantee any child’s future. But suffice it to say that graduates of Prada-Blahnik have gone on to some of our nation’s most famous institutions of higher learning. And we can state with a high degree of confidence that-as of this writing-almost none of them are currently under investigation by the Department of Justice or the S.E.C.

What we’re looking for, of course, are normal, well-adjusted children from all backgrounds, encompassing every race and strata of society. Money is not everything: In fact, this year, we’re proud to be teaching a handful of children from as far away as Third Avenue in the 90′s.

Unfortunately, because space at Prada-Blahnik remains at a premium, this year we’ve expanded our admissions application in order to pre-qualify worthy candidates.

Please take your time with the application. And remember: Although the $275,000 application fee is entirely optional, it is also non-refundable.

Section One: To be answered by children whose parents have a net worth of over $200 million.

1) I can walk and/or talk. (Please indicate “yes” by marking anywhere on this application in crayon, a Mont Blanc pen or bodily fluids. Don’t worry about the rest. We’ll bill you for tuition.)

Section Two: For children whose parents have a net worth of over $100 million.

1) Barney the Dinosaur is: A) Red. B) Purple. C) Beneath contempt.

2)Thomas the Tank is: A) A choo-choo train. B) Mommy’s secret nickname for her personal trainer.

3) The book that most resembles my home life is: A) The Nanny Diaries . B) The Sum of All Fears . C) The Butler Diaries by Paul Burrell, which I’ve already read in galleys.

4) Please compare and contrast these two works of fiction: A) Your preschool E.R.B. test with B) Dad’s most recent EBITDA filing.

5) Math Quiz: There are 16 apartments at 1022 Park Avenue worth an average of $8.9 million each. Assuming that A) Daddy receives his full Wall Street bonus this year, and B) Mommy’s father finally dies, leaving her in control of his hinge-manufacturing business, what do you estimate the odds are of your family getting past the co-op board interview in this white-glove building?

6) My favorite sport is: A) T-ball. B) Soccer. C) Pilates.

Section Three: For children whose parents have a net worth of less than $10 million:

Solve Fermat’s last theorem. Attach a separate sheet, if necessary.

Section Four: To be filled out by the child’s parents or the parent’s executive assistant:

1) In order to guarantee a place for my child at Prada-Blahnik, I would be willing to: A) Walk barefoot on bare coals. B) Underwrite a celebrity lecture series. C) Cynically manipulate the stock price of AT&T, decimating the retirement accounts and college savings plans of millions of small investors across America. D) Plead the Fifth in front of a grand jury convened by Eliot Spitzer, investigating answer C.

2) When I discuss “values” with my child, I talk about: A) The need to be a good, moral, warm, compassionate, sharing individual. B) The need to “take another look” at AT&T.

3) In order to foster an appreciation of international cuisine among Prada-Blahnik students, I would volunteer to: A) Shop at Zabar’s for the ingredients and help out in a class where we bake gourmet cookies. B) Buy Zabar’s and donate a professional kitchen with a full-time chef. C) Use my G-5 to fly my child’s class to Paris for lunch. D) Use the G-5 to fly the faculty of Prada-Blahnik around the world, and bring back doggie bags for the rugrats.

4) My child will arrive at school by A) Town Car. B) Limo. C) Armored Humvee.

5) If called by a reporter from The New York Times to comment on the Prada-Blahnik admissions process, the correct response is: A) Hang up the phone. B) “No comment.” C) ” Estoy apesadumbrado. El señor y La Señora no están en la casa .”

6) My child will/will not (circle one) require additional locker space for his/her private security detail.

7) If called a second time by the Times reporter, the correct response is to: A) Tell her to call the Citibank public-relations department. B) Quote Claude Rains from Casablanca : “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.” C) Tell her you have a much better story about Episcopal.

8) Essay Question: In the spirit of Martin Luther King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” please write a letter to your child explaining not only why you chose Prada-Blahnik, but why you think the grand jury failed to appreciate the subtle nuances behind the phrase “No quid pro quo.”

Section Five: For Prada-Blahnik board members and corporate benefactors.

Please circle the appropriate response: 1) I know these people and can vouch for the kid. Enclosed, please find $500,000. 2) I’ve never met these people, but I need the father’s help to nuke a corporate competitor. Enclosed, please find $1,000,000.

Section Six: Final bonus question:

In the issue of Fortune magazine dated Nov. 25, 2002, Citibank C.E.O. Sandy Weill is pictured on the cover with a headline proclaiming “The Ultimate Pragmatist Is Now a Reformer.” Do you find this: A) Accurate. B) Ironic. C) Hilarious.

Again, thank you for your interest. We may be in touch.

Sincerely yours, Tony Carnegie Hill, Headmaster.