Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second Thoughts of the Tired Plagiarist

I couldn’t do it. There was this gleaming solution to my troublesome equation, and I couldn’t do it. Two hours I spent deconstructing a nice article about the similarities between modern America and Ancient Rome. I poured over my thesaurus, changing every word I could. Re-worked sentences till they sounded more like what I would write. Mathematically, all I have to do is turn in something…anything with seemingly five paragraphs and I win the hand, with a pair of aces for the semester. Then I thought about two things. Columbia, that shining safe haven in the grittiest and greatest city in the world, and a woman named Furry. The former I had met for only a few spare minutes, but her funny name weighed heavily with my own anxieties about her power. Why did I ever walk into that office. Why, indeed, did I hand her a piece of paper saying I wanted to be something more; why did I ever tip her off that I have potential? People knowing that little tidbit, has been more trouble than it’s worth, though most ensure it’s a blessing to be nurtured. This is typically said mere moments before the very drive they speak of is indelibly crushed and aberrated, left only to crawl back to the deepest cerebral recesses like a beaten child who’s finally learned to stay quiet. That may sound jaded, cynical even but, has not everyone at one point or another had something expected of them. Some range of normality, that never quite fit. I imagine, in the masses of the roving six billion, that someone is a pure submissive and has simply always been OK with the standards everyone involved in their upbringing has set for them. By that very nature, I imagine that rare few to be either extremely boorish or exceedingly easy.

Then there was that invitation. Glossy, embossed, tattered and hopeful: what would the lovely people there think about such a despicable act? Again, two roads diverge, perhaps it’s best to think nobly of the baby blue lions and assume that with such strenuous standards, the mere thought of it would disrupt an entire campus, offend alumni, and destabilize the boosters, God forbid. On the other hand, playing the odds: how much high achievement is really performed by all those selects? I’d bet decent money, that at some point in their post secondary career, at least a handful of CU students have thought about it. Maybe, like me, even drafted one. Maybe, just maybe, submitted something that wasn’t wholly original or cited. Now, reading this you may argue “She’s a cheat! She deserves expulsion!...or worse! The fact that she would even consider pulling a swindle like that undermines the strict ethical code of…of…at least telling others you didn’t write something by citing it in one of the valid APA, ALA, or Chicago formats.

So that’s my soapbox. A quarter till midnight. In twelve hours, I’ll be peddling rump parking for Kathy Griffin and enthralling people with the tale of Lady Antebellum’s hour and forty-five minute sell out. Sometime within the six hours following that, I’ll be working at work and trying to find a minute to submit the paper that will make or break the little machinations I started going by visiting Furry, and thinking I could ever pull this great escape off. I want so badly to be able to write one of those miracle stories, where a sudden break of lucidity comes to enlighten and unblock my mind in literally, the eleventh hour. In all honesty though, I could very easily go climb in bed and pray to be up uncommonly early to get it done in the morning. In my exhausted stupor I make finger puppets to kill the time…I’m still here tip-tapping away, wishing desperately for greatness and my mind’s already on that pillow, my body left to run on auto-pilot with the sentence structure of a fourth grader. There in lies, perchance, the ultimate proof: a Columbia-worthy would be able to pull this off…like butta. And me? I’ve already sub-consciously given up. I’m trying to think of a serious thought and my eyes cross and I feel the tiredness. I should just go, be defeated and be up bright and early for some cinnamon toast crunch and aqueducts, big Roman one’s. Something says to fight through it though, “Don’t let yourself off easy like you have every other night…wuss.”

“Excuse me?” I frantically wonder.

“You heard me, slacker, you pulled the same crap for Intro to Theater, stayed up all night doing everything besides the paper. Yeah that Justin Timberlake video remix has gotten twenty thousands hits, but you never did get that assignment done. Don’t think I don’t remember…oh I remember! Ever since, you’ve been cutting yourself slack, procrastinating, missing deadlines and for what!? So that you won’t get anywhere? Well that ship has sailed sweetheart, your into high expectations whether you like it or not, or even if your not sure.”
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