in Essays Humor ~ read.

A Hilarious Takedown

In which Present Day Richard critiques the writings of High School Richard, particularly pieces of which the latter was most proud (sensitive names edited out).


Common Application College Essay

That old (young?) dog spent dozens of hours writing this thing and begging his favorite teachers to review it. Let's face it, you can't really expect much out of a sheltered suburban home-dweller. He didn't have anything close to an epic saga, so he tried his best to sound clever by injecting SAT words and all sorts and shapes of literary techniques he learned off a SparkChart, hoping the admissions officers would notice.

If I don't now, they didn't then.

Rejected College Essay

In which I compare myself to a tree.

I concocted this prior to submitting the first essay in this post, and you know what? It's probably better. Vaguely meditative until the last two paragraphs... in which I compare myself to a tree.

Great theory, terrible execution. But hey, at least this proves I totally repped Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset way before I knew it was a thing.

AP Government Essay

Our genes determine our hair color, our skin color, and our sports teams. Wait, what? That can't be right... But for high school me, it may as well have been the truth, so arbitrary were peoples' team preferences. It turns out we like sports teams because they give us some sense of identity; what I didn't understand then is I would've been much happier shouting at Derek Jeter than pretending to grok Socrates.

But the kid was partially right about politics, back then your genes did kind of decide if you were red or blue; now you realize that real life is the opposite of The Giver, where through marketing we are led to believe we can see color while in fact we are colorblind. His conclusion was intuitively sound - he just didn't have any evidence to back it up.

Now I believe we can develop the ability to see color, and I think it's worth it, but this requires something akin to a religious struggle and most have neither the energy nor the will. High school me didn't.

Ferris This image only exists to break the monotony of the text. Moving on!

Self-Help Guru

In which I conduct a psychological analysis of several fictional characters in the novel Sons and Lovers and give them advice like a columnist. And that's just the first section; I also wrote:

  • A random sales pitch for an artist's palette
    • AKA a successful demonstration of using non-sequiturs in writing (see image above)
  • Myself pretending to be some of the characters, writing in their private diaries
  • A rewritten scene, set in 2009 (what was then present-day).
    • It's not terrible, I promise!

Looking back, this little - okay, it's 2,600 words - amalgam of an essay is probably the best thing I wrote in high school. Why aren't my blog posts this brilliant?

Aside: Sons and Lovers is a messed-up book on many levels, which is to say it is good (because it is messed up, because it has many levels) and I recommend it. Much to my delight, I recently discovered it holds a place on my favorite list of books, which makes me appreciate my AP Lit teacher even more now.

Math Honors Paper

No, I didn't forget to link to this. I'm not even going to bother posting this because it's such a pile of crap. For this section, you'll have to imagine me aping Borges and criticizing a piece which for all practical purposes does not actually exist. Whatever opinion you had of me before would've been lowered had I dared to publicly shame myself by unearthing this festering necrosis, pulled together solely to fill a word count.

Poorly written, profoundly uninteresting, this paper exemplifies more our public education system's failure to engage its students than my admittedly subpar high school writing skills. Math education should be about order, logic, and mental judo. Bullshitting is already taught in another class: AP English Language.

Aside: Everybody loved my math teacher. I thought he was okay. I also thought he was a robot. I spent most of this class literally drooling on my sleeves as a natural byproduct of being asleep. I was already narcoleptic back then, I just didn't know what the term was called. I start too many sentences with I. I don't care. I don't think you should either. I'm trying too hard now. I'll stop. I promise.

Letter to my Physics Teacher

An oddly insightful reflection which I'm sure my physics teacher appreciated more than I appreciated the college recommendation letter I wrote this to ask him for.

Possibly the most honest thing I wrote in high school, this letter gives me hope that I can still be a genuine person... Although upon rereading I cringed at the last paragraph's first sentence. That idea has since been totally defenestrated.


I would like to emphasize that the me today is very different than the person painted by the above essays (or at least I'd like to believe so).

For some contrast, here's a well-received piece I wrote in college on my favorite book: What is Don Quixote about? Or: check out the other posts on this here blogamajigger... pretty please with some yummy macerated cherries on top?