Busting out the big one

Not to worry; despite the title, this story will not be pornographic.

Senior year of college I was burned out. I had been working on finishing my thesis, applying to jobs for when I graduated, and just generally had had enough of school. Unfortunately, there was still one more final to study for: Modern Ireland. I was also Managing Editor of our school newspaper, and since we were in the midst of transitioning to next year’s team of editors, I had very little down time. Of course, due to the aforementioned burnout, I did not want to spend any of it studying when I could just as easily be spending it drinking and making out with my girlfriend.

The day came for the final, and I showed up with pen and blue book in hand. I don’t remember the exact essay question we were assigned, but I know that it had something to do with the establishment of religion in Ireland and how the Church of England was in conflict with Irish leaders about this. I had very little idea of what to say, but I practically had a B.A. in BS, so I started writing.

I was whizzing along, making stuff up but using lots of big words so it sounded legit, when all of the sudden it came to me. I started talking about those English folks, the establishmentarians, who wanted to impose the Church of England on the Irish as the national religion, then talked about the perspective of the Irish who opposed that—in other words, those who agreed with disestablishmentarianism. You can probably see where this is heading. I put a few more sentences together, and then dropped the bomb: antidisestablishmentarianism. This wasn’t just a hundred dollar word, this was basically a million dollar word, and I was sure it would redeem me for the rest of the garbage I was spewing forth into my essay.

Needless to say, the teacher ate it up, and I pulled off a ‘B+’. Not quite the ‘A’ I was hoping for, but probably two full letter grades higher than I would’ve gotten without my stroke of genius.
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