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I was sitting at the bar on my favorite bar stool drinking a rather poor bottle of domestic beer. The sun was glaring off the snow on the outside world. It was dark inside, how I liked it. It was a time to collect my thoughts, a time to think the world out in a rational matter, it was time to think of an expository writing assignment. As I sat there peering through the beer glass watching the reflections off the watered down beer that appeared now more like a glass of tainted water, I noticed a few guys come in that were in my Marxist philosophy class. I waived my hand in that "nice to see ya" kind of gesture and they sat down beside me. I was a bit nervous but the courage I had from the first four beers was making me more at ease. These were the smart kids. There were four in all, two girls, two guys. They surrounded me around the bar. I began to sweat and drips of dew dropped down on to the hard plastic bar that had held up my head so many times before. I'd read their papers before. I realized they were the smart kids when reading their papers, I didn't understand what they were saying. Sure, some of the ideas were familiar but the general concepts of their papers were so ahead of my knowledge for the written word that the meaning was gone. was Now I was sitting among them, in a circle, a circle of knowledge. I was embarrassed that I was sitting amongst the greatest minds of the upper-Midwest drinking from a tainted glass with nothing more then a domestic beer.
I quickly finished the drink and motioned to the bartender. "Sir," I cried, as only a intellectual could, "bring me a chardonay, spare no expense with the pretzels, and give yourself ten percent." I was pleased at my request. Certainly I would fit in now. In class the smart kids always spoke in such a manner unlike any dialect that I had known before. When the addressed the professor they used words that I didn't know existed, I flew for my dictionary but by then it was always too late. I would try to fit in this time. I swung my chair towards the semi-circle that had surrounded me. I crossed my legs as only poets and small boys can do and grinned at them.
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"Fuckin' Faggot!" He laughed along with his other friends. "Hey bartender get us a couple of pitchers!"
I was shocked. Tears started to pour down my face. My tears started to puddle and form a river of disappointment. The smart kids ran away as quickly as they could and sat down at a table at the far end of the bar. They continued to point fingers and snicker. I couldn't understand why this had happened. I turned the other way, faced the bar, and began to drink my chardonay. How could this have happened. Had the smart kids revolted and decided that they would be like the common folk tonight and mock the rest our socially deprived world? I sat there for hours soaking in my one glass of importance and waited to see what the smart kids would do next. It only got worse. I looked over to see that one of them had passed out and one was trying to gag herself so her stomach would hurt now longer. As closing time hit I finished my drink and started to walk out of the establishment only to hear the smart kids that could still speak with a clear voice chanting "Jeff is lame, Jeff is lame!" My moment of fame never came and I couldn't figure out what had happened. It was of course driving completely insane.
I drove home through the tears and parked my Dodge Omni by the curb. I walked into my house and plummeted on my bed screaming at the top of my lungs, "oh the humanity of it all, damn the humanity!" And then it struck me as my Garfield clock hit three. These kids weren't different from me, they were exactly the same. They had only talked like that and wrote like that because they thought it would impress the teacher. All this time that I had thought that those were the smart kids I had been wrong. It was all an act. This act had deceived me. All the times that I had felt lessened because I wasn't able to speak in their tone or understand the literature that they produced, it was all an act. I started to look deeper in the issue. Was this what my expository writing professor was talking about? I concluded it was. This was the official style, complete bullshit, this was college style.
College style is of course a style that only lives in last minute papers and stuffy, smoky, boardrooms, which of course aren't smoky anymore I suppose because of all the clean air freaks. This style is mostly found in freshmen English papers with writers that don't know how to write and are just looking for a page count. This style is also found when people don't really have anything to say and they want to sound impressive when what they''re saying really doesn't deserve any credit at all. This style lives in a make-believe world that we make up which destroys creativity and real insight by covering up what we really want to say with political jargon that the system has decided on as simply: if it sounds impressive, it probably is impressive. So many people are so frightened to write because they might not sound official or sound intelligent enough that it sickens me. I've helped many freshmen students and the biggest complaint I hear when they're trying to write is that they don't want to sound dumb. This official style is what makes them fear rejection of writing. Of course I don't believe that the official style doesn't have its' place in society but I wish we could take it out of the university setting to free up creativity and thought. It would make a world of difference.
Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.