A mailman, a roofer, and a writer walk into a bar. They all look miserable and could use a stiff drink. The mailman says, “rain, sleet, and snow, my foot! Last winter I had to deliver mail in three feet of snow!” The other two nod sympathetically. After a swig, the roofer says “Well, this heat wave is killing me. All day long up on a sizzling roof in the blazing sun? No thank you.” The other two nod sympathetically. Finally, the writer says, “Well, those sound horrible but I think I have you both beat.” The other two brace themselves expecting the worst. “This one time,” he says, “I went a week without WiFi.” The other two hastily order another round for their friend.
Yes, having moved into my new apartment I found myself without WiFi for over a week now. It’s been a nightmare scenario that haunts my waking hours. It’s also why I have struggled to pump out the number of articles I used to be able to do: Researching and finding sources is tough when those sources are online and you aren’t.
It’s not a complete wash though because I have managed to write a lot more fiction and reflective essays in the interim. I am trying to look at this time as a bit like Henry David Thoreau’s time at Walden Pond (but with more electricity and less tranquility). Who knows, maybe while I’m missing the latest trending topic on twitter I’ll discover the next great American philosophical movement. Or perhaps I’ll just think up some more corny jokes.
I plan on writing a strong essay, starting with a good thesis statement. Following the introduction to my essay, I will provide three solid paragraphs in support of my thesis. It will make up the body of my essay and I’ll try to include enough information to properly get my message across. I’ll end where I began.
My first paragraph will include what I deem as the strongest case for my thesis statement. It will hit the reader with a barrage of statistics, figures, testimonies, and other techniques to illustrate why my thesis is defensible. I will relate my topic to other topics in order to achieve understanding by way of analogy. The real goal of the first supporting paragraph is to entice to reader to keep going.
My second paragraph will include a weaker, but still substantial argument for my thesis. I will attempt to get at the meat of the argument, while acknowledging its weaknesses. The key is to acknowledge the weaknesses but dismiss them one at a time. They are there to provide peace of mind to the audience who does not want to be exposed to merely one side. This is the paragraph to bring up the other side because it’s not the first thing the audience reads, but it’s also not the last. The second paragraph is always the one forgotten.
The last supporting paragraph will be short. My essays start strong but grow more and more impatient as the night continues. I will have written myself into several dead ends that only deal tangentially with the thesis. The audience will begin to wonder where I am going with this. I haven’t a clue, I’m only dimly aware that something is wrong. I make casual references to Hitler. I’m in Godwin’s Law territory now.
Something is wrong. The conclusion is meant to be a summation of the thesis statement and the three supporting paragraphs but looking over what I have written, I can’t seem to make sense of any of my points. Perhaps I’m over thinking it. What did Bush always say? Stay the course. That’s good. That’s a good quote, maybe I can slip that in somewhere. The audience will respect my ability to focus my thesis down to a simple, common quote by a famous figure. This paper has turned into a disaster. It’s been staring me in the face for the past hour of writing but I’ve only just acknowledged it. There is nothing to be done now, I’m too far in. I can only do one thing: end where it began, I restate my thesis statement.