Big week here at Aarkvard. First of all, there’s the Sex Toy Party. You’ve no doubt heard about this. When Aarkvard students want to advertise an event, they pull no punches. They’ve seen to it that the hot-pink posters are everywhere: dorms, dining halls, restrooms, Canada, your bodily cavities, etc., all in the name* of instilling in the callow unindoctrinated the message that sex toys are – I think I have this right – good. But I may be reading too much into this.
In the meantime, the big news story here is that we might be changing our motto. I can’t decide how I feel about this. The Aarkvard University motto, “Quid Pro Laudamus Pestis Furcifer” (literally, “Now Offering Chick-Fil-A”) is an American institution, like Oklahoma and Pez. It has been emblazoned above the university chapel doors since the school’s founding, back when australopithecines roamed the earth and everybody was getting pretty excited over a newfangled notion called “dial-up”. Nevertheless, concerns abound that this slogan does not accurately reflect the institution’s intellectual and cultural weltanschauung, seeing as, in the words of university President Ephram M. Cloaca, “we have Taco Bell, too”.
Speaking of australopithecines, they themselves are a pretty hot topic here at Aarkvard. Again this can be traced back to President Cloaca, currently in hot water for his recent Anthropological Diversity Initiative that allegedly included recruiting two members of the Australopithecus family to teach in the Political Science department. This has yet to be proven, though, as evidenced by President Cloaca’s recent statement on the matter: “We refuse either to confirm or deny these allegations at this time. Besides, Carl and Jane are visionaries.”
One tries to keep a low profile during such turbulence. There is a downside to this sort of self-segregation, however, in that sooner or later, you will find yourself doing: work. There are many ways to avoid this, of course. I recommend developing a medical disorder, such as “lactose intolerance”**, or claiming to speak only a made-up foreign language, such as “Chinese”. Eventually, though, you will run out of excuses. I know because, as I write this, I find myself deeply ensconced*** in textual analysis of Shakespeare. For those unaware, I refer to the eminent writer dude whose vast and diverse oeuvre**** includes such fine works as Macbeth, Hamlet, Fred, Bolero, your road atlas, and the Cosmo with Sarah Michelle Gellar on the cover; and whose infinite understanding of human psychological nuance earned him his nickname, “the Big Apple”. Textual analysis is an exercise wherein, utilizing your keenest critical acumen and instinct as an astute and sensitive literary scholar, you run like a bat outta hell toward 500 words:
From the foregoing aforementioned lines, in which Macbeth makes an honest admission of his guilt, we can tell that he is feeling guilty, and honestly so. Evident in these lines is the honest guilt he honestly feels, in the sense of feeling guilty, in the honest sense. In no way do we get a sense that he is not feeling guilty, in the sense of not feeling guilty, or not feeling honestly guilty, which is to say that his guilt is manifestly honest in its manifest honesty. This compels him to state, with honesty, that he is feeling honestly guilty. It is perhaps worth noting that he is also feeling some guilt at this time, but honestly as opposed to dishonestly. This bespeaks, on his part, a certain guilt.
Meanwhile, Aarkvard celebrates its annual Family Weekend, a magical occasion wherein you have the opportunity to observe that each of your schoolmates comes from a virtually indistinguishable pair of Certified Public Accountants, some of whom are not called “Ed” and “Janice,” but all of whom – feel free to agree wholeheartedly with me, if you will, and call this a glaring, highly suspicious inconsistency – look as though they are called “Ed” and “Janice”.***** There are also small children involved, all of whom are a) loud and b) located directly outside my personal door, which is approximately the width of a standard Cheez-It, but less substantial. This serves as a constant heartwarming reminder that a) people are fertile and b) small children are loud.
Finally, scientists have determined, in a highly scientific process that involved much determining******, that 98.8% of all writers compose with blithe disregard for structure, merely stringing random unrelated bits of text together as they please. Personally, I’m so outraged I could spit, which I would if my spitting apparatus weren’t currently wadded full of hot-pink posterboard.
**In layman’s terms, a condition wherein you are intolerant of lactoses.
***As in, so deeply ensconced, I’m writing this.
*****The rest are called “Ed” and “Denise”.
©2007, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending