By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 106 – November 7, 2004
“Fulfilling Contractual Humor Obligations For Over Two Years”
Now Playing: “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles
It's happened to all of us. Every college student has put off writing a term paper, book report or crappy humor column until the night before it was due. Go on, admit it. The all-nighter is a college tradition, like streaking across the football field during the big homecoming game and defecating on the fifty yard line. But how do I go about pulling an all-nighter, you ask? Well goddamnit, even though I can't hear you I'm going to tell you anyway. Oh you are such a card. Here's what happened:
-Before you can begin your all-nighter adventure, you must analyze the situation. How much work do you have done already? How far do you still have to go? Take a sheet of paper, any size will do, and make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish before sunrise. This way you will be able to check off everything you accomplish which I find immensely satisfying and strangely erotic. The first item on your list should be “MAKE A LIST OF THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH” so you can check it off as soon as your list is done. There, doesn't that feel good? I think you've earned a Yoo Hoo.
-Near the top of your list of things to do should be a visit to the library, since nearly every essay you write in college requires some sort of research, usually in the form of plagiarism. Unfortunately, the library closed three hours ago while you were wasting your time making a list. No problem for a dedicated college student like you, though. Just go to a 24-hour hardware store and pick up 6 feet of PVC pipe, an acetylene torch and a quart of carbolic acid. You don't need to be MacGyver to figure out what happens next. Yes, that's right. Go ahead and cross “BREAK INTO SCHOOL LIBRARY” off your list.
“Plagiarism is so easy it should be illegal like child molestation and yet for some reason it's not.”
-Now that you're a felon, you must be prepared to evade the law. Luckily for you the library is the perfect place for you to hide, and you can get work done at the same time. Did somebody say two birds with one stone? I think somebody did. And that somebody is me. No policeman would ever say to him or herself, “Golly, self. I just can't seem to find that serial rapist anywhere! Maybe I should check the library mezzanine.” No, that would NEVER happen.
-Let's face it: You're going to need to find some books for your research. Notice here that I said FIND books and not READ books. Nobody has ever, in the history of the entire universe and parallel universes as well, read a single book from a university library. This is because the books you find in a university library are not the same books you find in a regular nerd's library. You will not find any books with titles like “Prisoner of My Desire” or “Where's Waldo” in a university library. No sir you will not. Instead, what you will find is millions, or possibly trillions, of funny-smelling brown-colored “books” with titles like “Temperance and the Soviet Revolution of the Early Twentieth Century: A Compilation of Esoteric Notes and Essays.” I think that one is about racquetball.
-If you ever make the mistake of opening one of these books in the university library you will find that it contains nothing but footnotes apparently written in Sumerian, so that every page is filled with words like “Ibid.” Pick up about fifty of those babies. Do not worry or fret if you cannot understand the library's complicated Dewey decimal system, named after one of Disney's most beloved cartoon animals (“Uncle Scrooge”). When in the research phase of an all-nighter, finding books that are on the subject you are writing about is a luxury you simply cannot afford, like expensive Kleenex with diamonds on it. Simply pick up about fifty books at random and be on your merry way. This concludes the research phase of your paper. That wasn't so bad, was it? Try not to leave fingerprints behind.
-Upon returning home you will probably be quite tired from all that tiring research, and also because it is now fast approaching daybreak. You'll need a little pick-me-up to get “back in the game,” so to speak. The “game” of course is your research paper, and NOT a deer you are hunting, because that would be ridiculous. This is why I recommend that, before proceeding any further, you make coffee. And not just any coffee. You want generic-brand Instant Coffee that sells for 38 cents per metric ton and tastes like a combination of liquid mercury and gravel. How positively delectable! You want coffee that tastes so bad that within seconds of merely breathing in the mildly toxic vapors steaming out of the mug your stomach tries to eat itself and you feel like you really need to poop but when you try to poop you find out you can't. Fuck Starbucks. That stuff ought to keep you awake and alert for the next few hours.
-That ought to be enough tomfoolery for the moment. With your coffee in hand, proceed to your workstation for some essay-writing fun. Oh, sure, writing an essay may not be as much fun as, say, a trip to Disneyland. But it's certainly more fun than a trip to the morgue or even Six Flags. It's all about putting things into perspective. The trick to writing a good essay quickly and/or efficiently is to open up the books you've kleptoed from the library to a page where someone else has underlined an important passage. Simply copy out these underlined passages word for word, and then put them in quotation marks. By putting an underlined passage in quotation marks you are telling the professor that you are not a plagiarist but instead you are a hardworking student who put a lot of work into his essay. It's so easy it should be illegal like child molestation and yet for some reason it's not. I blame the liberal media.
-So now you have your quotes, which should make up the majority, or “content,” of your essay. I think you've earned yourself a break. One of the best things about pulling an all-nighter is that you get to see some television programs that you would not ordinarily get to see unless you were narcoleptic or worked night shifts at a gas station or something. I personally like to flip between reruns of “Welcome Back, Kotter” starring Gabe Kaplan and John Travolta (“Oh, Boom-Boom, what WILL you do next?”) and one of those late-night infomercials with the girls in bikinis walking around in slow motion. Oh yes, that's the prize.
-You're almost done! All that's left to do is write a few sentences to join the completely random quotes you pulled out of your ass together. The best way to join quotes together is to use big words that nobody understands, not unlike the Architect in the Matrix. There is no quote so random and irrelevant that you can't add the words “vis-à-vis” or “concurrently” before it to make it SEEM like it makes sense. Remember, professors read hundreds of papers and they don't have time to look up bigwords between their busy schedule of snorting lines of cocaine off the artificial breasts of Cambodian prostitutes. They'll probably just give you the benefit of thedoubt.
-By this time the sun should be up, the birds should be chirping in an irritating manner and your eyes should be bloodshot beyond reason. But it was worth it, right? Your paper is done, and all you have to do now is push the print button. Unfortunately, your printer has probably been out of ink and paper since the late Mesozoic era (your printer apparently prints onto stone tablets) so you'll have to wake your roommate up and ask to use their printer instead. At first your roommate will be upset because you are waking him up from his precious slumber. As a peace offering, I recommend you make coffee.