Final essays are approaching. Evil older brothers to final
exams, the essays eat up precious out-of-school time, count for
loads more than they should and all cluster together like a hive of
killer bees. You don’t want to go in there half armed – they’ll
sting you to death and lay their eggs in your hair, which when put
through the metaphor filter, translates into “they’ll give you
paper cuts and make you flunk so you have to retake the class.”
First, read the description of the assignment thoroughly. Look
for parts that are emphasized or were mentioned specifically in
class. These could be points that would be good to play up in the
essay, as the teacher obviously feels they are important. Next,
toss all that garbage and do some free association writing, which
is basically just hitting whatever keys look the most adorable.
Next, run spell check, which will turn even your most nonsensical
constructions into English words.
This will be your introduction paragraph. In a lesser essay,
this paragraph would be like a teaser that would describe the
contents. That’s for the norms and conformists. Here instead, the
point of this introductory paragraph is to make the rest of the
essay sparkle in comparison. Teachers love it when you show
Next, explain your topic as briefly as possible. It’s probably
boring, so the less time spent on it the better. No matter the size
of the essay, the time spent explaining your subject doesn’t need
to be larger than a sentence or two. This is called the “theist
statesmen” interchangeably called the “thesis statement” and since
this little guy says everything your essay would otherwise, it’s
the only part of the essay you really need.
How to fill the rest of the essay, then? Most teachers are paid
a healthy sum by various companies to ensure that no backpack
survives the crushing weight of final papers, so there’s probably
at least sixty pages left. Old-fashioned techniques would expound
upon the thesis and introduction. This is clearly a waste of time.
Teachers are like anyone else – they crave entertainment.
Teachers like quotes. You’ve probably heard all kinds of rules
for proper citations – they mention this for a reason. They want
loads of quotes from famous people, and the more obscure or ironic,
the better. If you can find a quote from a young Hitler saying he
loved bagels that would be gold. Look for Da Vinci saying art was
only for women. Slather your paper generously with these tidbits,
and your teacher will give many a dry, aristocratic guffaw.
If you run out of quotes but still haven’t run out of space,
don’t panic – summarize. If you had done one of those boring
traditional essays, a summary would be a refocusing for your paper.
But for this paper, the summary should just be a quick list of all
the great quotes you’ve found so far. “Hitler – Bagels. Da Vinci –
Women. Frogger – Trucks.” Then summarize this summary even further,
“Hitler Frogger Trucks.” Continue to summarize infinitely, until
your paper collapses on itself like a dying star.
I hope you saved room for dessert – the conclusion. This is the
best part of the paper, not only because it means you are done and
can return to whatever debauchery interests you most, but also
because this is like the mint on the pillow of the paper. Here, you
will want to refer to whatever the theist statesmen was going on
about, and ingeniously tie it in with the aforementioned string of
For example, if your topic was about appropriate writing
techniques, mention that teachers would love the styles mentioned
in your guide as much as Frogger on a bagel loved Hitler in a
Johnathan is a sophomore studying English. This fall he will be
moving from the opinion page to the Dish on Thursdays.