Term Papers

It’s midterm at the agency–and I’ve had about four papers due. Of course, that’s what I do for a living, so the routine of outlining something at 11 pm because inspiration has been muffled by reality TV, and then getting up at 6 to write, is almost a daily routine.

But this method has always worked for me. If I can jot down my thoughts mind-map style in red ink before I go to bed, the paper almost writes itself when I wake up.

I went on a date Saturday night with a guy who’s in grad school, and I was reminded of my grad school paper-writing pain.

The first night of major grad school misery was in Qualitative and Rhetorical Research Methods. The course’s major paper was due on Friday, November 19. That was my 27th birthday. I’d done a decent amount of prep earlier that week, including writing the intro. But the last 18 pages plus bibliography…well, I started that at 5 pm the night before. By 7 am, after an all-nighter, I realized I was going to have to skip work (though I still was committed to a lunch meeting). At 4:45 I was frantically printing it, hoping to make the 17-minute drive in 14 minutes, leaving me one minute to run inside and hand it to the secretary.

Yes, I made it. And then I went to dinner with my parents, my friend and her parents at River City Brewery. (During which my friend innocently handed me a gift bag holding a very naughty adult toy, which I promptly hid.)

The unfortunate thing about the all-nighter was that I missed out on the big practical joke I’d staged on our office manager.

It was tradition that the birthday person got to pick what treat they wanted, and the office manager would arrange to get it.

I love my mom’s butterscotch pie, and since she was coming into town for dinner anyway, I made up a fake name of someone who supposedly made great pies for people and told my office manager to call and place an order for two. Mom was in on the joke, so she graciously took the order, telling the office manager to make a check out for $10 to the church.

So, mid-afternoon, I had to call and tell Mary (office manager) the whole story, to explain why the pies wouldn’t be arriving as planned.

But never fear, Mom brought them anyway. And they’re much better on the second and third days. I got my little party after all on Monday.


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