- Dear instructor,
- I am sorry to send you such a desperate message at the eleventh hour (quite literally!), but I'm afraid that I am finding the midnight deadline rather infeasible, for reasons I shall attempt to outline as succinctly as possible. I do apologize that it might not be as succinct as you'd prefer, but the circumstances are a bit complex to put across.
- I recently visited the tang center with regards to this pain I've been having in my left leg since early last semester. After various pokes and prods, a referral to another doctor, followed by additional various pokes and prods, I was informed that I suffer from lumbar radiculitis, perhaps more poetically termed "sciatica"—chronic irritation of the nerve that runs from one's lower back down the full length of the leg. I am to understand that this is a result of bad posture, and consequently I was notified of several noxious habits of mine which I am to correct. One of these--it has since become clear--is the main culprit: I have a rather bad case of what has been rather blandly termed "forward head" which--the Internet tells me—is one of the five most common posture problems.(http://www.builtlean.com/2011/11/28/posture-problems/)
- Earlier tonight I discovered to my rather ecstatic delight that if I force myself to keep my neck straight, the pain in my leg that has been plaguing me for over half a year completely dissipates in a matter of minutes. Wonderful, yes? Well, as it turns out, the muscles used to keep the neck straight are, in my case, severely out of practice, and one of them in particular has begun to voice its adamant distaste for the sudden increase in responsibility. So now I have a choice: to keep proper posture--which leads to sharp pain in my shoulder whenever I turn my head in certain directions--or to fall back into old habits, and endure the searing nerve pain in my leg which often makes sitting an annoyance and, at times, makes standing an unbearable chore. Please forgive me, but I have to say I choose the former.
- Now, in addition to the sharp pain that currently accompanies certain head movements, keeping my neck straight also requires that I adopt rather novel (no pun intended) strategies with respect to reading from books and writing with traditional instruments. I can choose to hold the object(s) in question up in front of my face, which is asking a lot from my arms (especially in the case of a three-ring binder). Alternately, I can place it in my lap or on a desk, in which case I am forced to choose between two equally novel methods of looking down at it. One way is to keep my head up and look down my nose at it as a politician or corporate executive might regard someone of lower rank; the other is to bend forward at the waist, which means giving up the support which is otherwise so generously provided by the back of my office chair.
- The trouble with all of these methods is that they require me to *concentrate*. If my mind does not periodically check in and make sure all of my muscles are completing their assigned tasks as directed, I find them slowly slipping back into the old ways, and before I know it I'm called into yet another meeting with my sciatic nerve's union representative (I despise meetings, but these are a cut above the rest--they drag on for hours, and That is to say, this is all very *distracting*. Taking into account that I am also afflicted with a neurological condition, whose primary manifestation is an *extreme* susceptibility to distraction, I hope you can see how this evening's severe deviation from the script was not entirely avoidable.
- Thence comes my plea: I note that the course policies you gave to us say that late papers are accepted at your discretion--which I take to mean that there is a chance they not be accepted at all. I readily admit that had I not procrastinated so severely--as I am terminally prone to doing (in part due to the aforementioned neurological affliction, though I do not like to use that as an excuse)—this situation might not have been as dire, and as such I do not ask that my tardiness be entirely excused. I will endure the penalty of three points--it is not that which I beg of you. Just this: Allow me to continue writing for just this one day. Let me think about my going into exile and a start in life for my children, now that their father sees fit to...er...
- ...so sorry, where was I? Oh, yes: I am confident that a finished paper will be sitting beautifully in your inbox by the time the sun has risen (or very shortly thereafter), as at this point my neurons are soaking in so much caffeine that I am having trouble grasping the meaning of such words as "drowsy", "relax" or "food". It is my hope that this letter convinces you that tonight's circumstances were at least partially unforseeable, and in doing so provides the needed rationale for accepting my late paper, with or without whatever penalty you may see fit to impose.
- Post script:
- I must address one question which by now you may have already begun to type in the reply box. Yes, I did spend a considerable amount of time writing this letter that could have been spent writing the paper instead. In case you are tempted to think that this letter puts into question my assertion of difficulty, I would like to clarify: I am having no difficulty *typing*--I have long since adjusted the height of my monitor to be ideal for proper posture and as the words flow from my brain through the keyboard and onto the screen I experience no pain at all. The difficulty I am experiencing is with the traditional media--looking through my notes, reading the source material and especially annotating it. In the end, I believe that the time spent on this communique is inconsequential: I would not have made the midnight deadline anyway, and I am still going to have a completed paper for you in a matter of hours.
- As to what possessed me to erupt in such voluminous prose, all I can say is that I envisioned something smaller when I started and as I continued to type and type and type, I ceased paying mind to the clock or to the word count. While the most well known effect of my nervous affliction is the inability to engage focus when I need it, it has an equally powerful twin brother: my mind will occasionally choose something to focus on, seemingly all on its own, and that focus cannot easily be broken, regardless of how inappropriate a task I'm engaged in or how urgently other tasks deserve my attention. By my estimation it has been 34 hours since I most recently awoke and this (catalyzed by the generous consumption of this fizzy yellow insanity which we curiously allow to be old alongside milk and eggs when perhaps it should rightly be kept under pharmacist's lock and key) tends to result in the spontaneous and utterly zealous execution of whatever outrageous ideas emerge from the static, with outcomes ranging from proud accomplishments to utterly silly wastes of time--all in hindsight, of course.
a guest Mar 9th, 2013 777 Never
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