Using an acrostic to insult your professor

A colleague of mine whose name shall remain a secret until they reveal it themselves, told me the following story about a Ph.D. student and his professor. Certainly, it is one of the best stories on writing I have heard in a long time and I hope you will like it too.

Recently, this candidate graduated from our university, although I think he wouldn’t have, if the committee head read his dissertation more carefully. Our candidate was so annoyed with the quality of the guidance his professor gave him that he decided to hide a message in the first part of his conclusions section as an acrostic.

Some of you may not know what an acrostic is, so I here is a really simple explanation. The acrostic is a text in which the first letter of every word, line or sentence you write is the next letter of a new word or sentence, rather like this post in fact, just read the first letter of every sentence, together they make up a word.

It must have been really difficult for our candidate to write this message while still maintaining good academic quality of the text, but apparently it worked, because nobody noticed anything peculiar about the text. Certainly, he must have been rather nervous during the defense of his thesis, because he had manipulated the first twenty-two sentences of his conclusions to make the first letters of every sentence say “my professor is an asshole”.

(No, students in my class, don’t try this on me, please. I am sure I will fail your test!)

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