Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Last-Minute Application Essays

I had to write an essay as part of my application to my school's writing program. Basically, if accepted, I would get paid to help other college kids write and stuff. I had a week and a half's notice. Naturally, I began writing the essay two hours before the deadline. We had the opportunity to create our own topic, and were instructed to imagine that we were submitting the essay for the sake of a college application. This is what I wrote.

Note: Nomos is Greek for law. Thiasus is the posse of Dionysus, God of wine and revelry, for whom comedy plays were written and performed.

Topic: What is your current career goal? Why?
Internal conflict between interest in law and comedy, as presented by dialogue between Nomoitus and Thiasus respectively.

Nomoitus: Good evening, Thiasus.
Thiasus: Hey, what’s up.
Nomoitus: I see that you are, as usual, huddled over your laptop. Tell me, what endeavor absorbs you so?
Thiasus: Nothing much, man. I’m just watching some YouTube videos.
Nomoitus: Ah. Narcotizing yourself with mindless drivel.
Thiasus: Whoa whoa whoa. This is Mitch Hedberg here. Dude’s a genius. Here, listen to this.
Nomoitus: I shall have to decline. I refuse to entertain myself with material so base.
Thiasus: Dude, come on. You and I are both just metaphors for diverging forces within the ego of the same personality structure. You don’t have to get up on your high horse all the time and hate on my passion.
Nomoitus: Passion? Your aimless obsession over stand-up comedy and awkward sitcoms hardly warrants such a highfalutin label. If we deem any such trivial hobby a passion, we shall have no end of them.
Thiasus: Ah, but you don’t understand. I don’t watch or read comedy just to delay my inevitable responsibilities. Sure, sheer escapism can be end in itself, but comedy doesn’t numb me; it enervates me. I aspire to wield words with the vitriolic confidence of satirists, to confound with the paraprosdokians and non-sequiturs of stand-up comedians, and most of all, just to make people laugh. There are few that I admire more than the comedic geniuses of the ages, especially those gifted with the courage and incisiveness to reveal the absurdities of social wrongs. Also, I like fart jokes.
Nomoitus: I cannot believe what I am hearing. You want to be one of those?
Thiasus: Oh, that I could.
Nomoitus: Outrageous! Inconceivable! Blarghehgsh!
Thiasus: What was that last one?
Nomoitus: You are sorely in need of redirection. I, for one, have no confidence in your abilities, however many of these “comedic geniuses” you may try to emulate. Do you wish to starve like so many failed artists and writers, and wither away in an alley with nothing to keep you company but syphilis and a broken heart?
Thiasus: First of all, people didn’t even boo when I did stand up. Second, that’s a complete mischaracterization of the entertainment industry. I could always, like, work at Blockbuster or something. Besides, what else would you suggest?
Nomoitus: I am glad that you should ask. I would settle for nothing less than the noble pursuit of law.
Thiasus: This is where you cue the laugh track.
Nomoitus: Sure, there are those in the industry that besmirch the reputation of the whole, but law itself is so incredibly fascinating. Even its very evolution from the ancient Code of Hammurabi to the social contract of the Enlightenment provides us with such fertile ground for research and reflection. One need not practice law to appreciate the myriad of issues that lie at its core, and to understand the implications they have for society and the people therein. And lastly, the relish of constructing your case and demolishing that of your opponent is a thrill unsurpassed.
Thiasus: You need to get out more.
Nomoitus: I do not think you are qualified to tell me that.
Thiasus: Touché. But I cannot agree with you. Sure, the study of law sounds interesting in theory, but would you really want to spend three years of your prime studying it, and then the rest of your life figuring out ways to get around it? I can’t imagine anything more dull and uninspiring.
Nomoitus: I think you will quickly change your mind when you notice that the only positive numbers in your bank account are to the right of the decimal point. But alas, we do not have two lives to spend. Trial and error would not be in our best interest. You and I can come to a compromise.
Thiasus: And what might that be?
Nomoitus: We go to law school. However, during our enrollment, we may try our luck with comedy writing and performing. If, by chance, we shall find success in this field, we will duly pursue our fortunes therein. Otherwise, we will find ourselves with a law degree, and with it, reasonable means of livelihood.
Thiasus: Sounds great.
Nomoitus: And we will have to take the LSAT.
Thiasus: D’oh!