Hugh Gallagher is an author and musician from New York City. He is best known for his satire, including his band Von Von Von, his award-winning satire on the college application essay, "3A Essay", and the novel Teeth.
Early life and work
Gallagher was born in New York City and grew up in Pennsylvania. While in high school, he won Scholastic Press, Inc.'s national writing contest in 1990 with a satiric personal essay titled "3A Essay".
The essay starts with "I am a dynamic figure", and contains many humorous, hyperbolic statements of his accomplishments, ending with the line, "But I have not yet gone to college." The essay, which he did apparently submit to some colleges, has become an urban legend among high school students undergoing the college admissions process. It also became a popular Internet phenomenon in the late 1990s. The essay was also recorded as a spoken-word piece by Gang of Seven Productions. A line from this essay was adapted by Full Contact Origami for the company's name.
Gallagher ultimately attended NYU. While there, he released a spoken-word/comedy album under the name Hugh Brown Shu in 1992, entitled "Bomb the Womb."
In 1998, Gallagher published his first novel, Teeth.
Since 2002, he has performed live as Von Von Von, a pop star holdover from the 1980s who hails from Antwerp. Some of Gallagher/Von Von Von's work has been produced by Grandmaster Ratte' of CULT OF THE DEAD COW.
It seems that Hugh Gallagher wrote this for a national writing contest, and that an Urban Legend has since arisen that he wrote it as an actual application essay.
18 June 1998, update. Hugh Gallagher emailed me(!), and said: "I was happy to see my college essay on your site (by the the way, I did send it to colleges)". So that's that Urban Legend laid to rest, then? He also said "... and my first novel, Teeth, was published by Pocket Books this Spring. ... It's a coming of age tale about a guy with really messed up teeth, who goes travelling around the world instead of fixing his mouth." If it's told with anything like the style and wit of what follows, it should be great!
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.
I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college.