to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all respects

Monday, March 28, 2005

Fully Comprehending Acknowledgements

I don't know if many people do this, but I love to read acknowledgements at the start of books, especially lately since I need to write one for my dissertation soon. Well, I am reviewing a book that is a refurbished dissertation and found the following dedication:'s not some pilgrim who's seen the light/It's a cold and it's a broken
- Leonard Cohen
In grititude for the generosity of my parents, X.X and Y.Y, and the once
warm company of some feline friends Bert and Tigger.

Ok. He dedicated his book to his parents and to two cats. The past tense is a bit troubling. What happened to the cats? Were they childhood pets (does he allow this phrase?) or were they sacrificed to the dissertation deity whom we all fearfully suspected would be pleased with things like kitty sacrifices. "Once warm" - maybe they turned on him when he went off to grad school?

His acknowledgements shed no light on the fate of Bert and Tigger. However, we do learn there were other "companions":
Finally, although they cannot fully comprehend it, Eli, Efi, Hank, and Buzz, my current furry friends, have been an enormous source of hope and life in the writing of this current monograph. It was with deep sadness that Cuthbert, who provided immense delight in the final stages of the dissertation, left so suddenly and with such seeming ease.

I have to ask this, and I hope you'll forgive me, but "What the hell?" I mean I've finished a dissertation and while it made me more fond of the tale of Moby Dick than is perhaps socially acceptable (monomania - it and caffein are the bomb for writing a dissertation, baby), I cannot comprehend "furry friends" with names like Eli, Efi, and Cuthbert (And Hank and Buzz are drinking buddy names, not "hey, sit on my lap and let me pet you" names). What is more, what's up with "fully" comprehend. They are furry - ergo, No comprenden. And tell me Cuthbert's "sudden departure" is not directly tied to the "final stages" of the dissertation.

I think I will cherish these sentimental words in the years to come and share them when I advise students who are considering graduate school. The students will need to discern whether Eli, Efi, Cuthbert, Bert (!), and Tigger are Homeric (Sing to me, O Muse) or Dante-esque (Abandon hope, all ye who enter her.)

1 comment:

cass said...

funny funny funny.
oh i shall miss your sarcasm.
and if pepperdine had a graduate program for me-i would so be there. too bad.
i enjoyed having lunch with you yesterday-we should do it again.
i am sorry, though, that i was a little moody, what can i say i was having a bad day.

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