I’ve been in a terrible mood lately. First I had to cede the title of “world’s most influential Marxist visionary, alive or dead” to Che Geuvara. Then I had to abdicate from my position as “world’s most fecund male” in favor of 50 Cent. And now this: a professor returned an essay lambasting me for “excessive verbosity,” and questioning if I had done any of the reading, or if I’d been to class.
Well, professor, of course I haven’t been to class. I’ve been too busy masturbating to vocabulary flash cards and oil renderings of Noah Webster. And if my allergies weren’t so bad—making it impossible to differentiate between different types of tissues in the garbage—I’d offer you proof.
The irony of this all is that in calling me “excessively verbose,” my professor was being….how shall we put this…excessively verbose. Verbose, in and of itself, means “using or expressed in more words than are needed” (thank you Mr. Widget), and excessive means “more than is necessary.” So, in essence, my professor was telling me that I had “more than is necessary used more words than are necessary.” Is this some sort of poetic faculty joke I’m too young to understand, or is his own redundancy just as bad as the offense of which he accused me? Or is it even worse, since his was used in an attempt to criticize mine?
These are the trivialities that animate life within an essay. Nowhere else in the world does existence hinder so acutely on a linear series of steps that are the same no matter the context. And I will lay these steps out for everyone to see, and undoubtedly identify with:
2. Procrastination/Sportscenter Highlights
5. Procrastination/AIM Chat
6. Thesis Statement
7. Realize it’s 2:30 in the morning and you have x number of pages to go
8. Complete 2 pages semi-painlessly
9. Procrastination/Anxiety-Laden Masturbation
10. Tough out 3 more pages
11. Realize there are x more pages to go and you have nothing more to say
12. Drink a Red Bull
13. Realize Red Bull is a complete farce, and doesn’t boost energy whatsoever
14. Bullshit about the topic within a larger social context until the last half-page
15. Conclusion that repeats the thesis statement seventeen times
16. Edit to make sure the words “posit,” “manifest,” “espouse” appear
This 16-step process is learned in third grade, or whenever it is that students are introduced to the five-paragraph essay. The system stays intact no matter the age or topic, so whether you’re 10 and writing about submarines or 23 and writing about contract law the procedure is the same. Who says there’s no continuity in education? I mean, seriously, who says that? I’ve never heard that before.
The point is, though, that excessive verbosity is practically a given, considering that essays unfailingly call for more words than are needed; and, in most cases, more words than are possible without repeating oneself. The choices are to be either excessively verbose or suicidally short of the quota, and that is hardly a choice. Wouldn’t everyone go for excessively verbose? I know I would.
And I know my professor would also. Douchebag.
Stay Sanctimonious, Professor