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The Common European Mange-Donkey

Posted by Derantol , 25 February 2012 · 161 views

A friend of mine wrote this essay for a class that he took called "Confronting Moral Dilemmas." It's pretty funny - read past the first few paragraphs for the better parts. For what it's worth, he got an A on this paper.

At the beginning of the term, I felt as though I had a coherent grasp on many concepts concerning morality. I have strong opinions concerning many of the issues mentioned in the course catalogue, and I was excited to take a class which would focus on moral dilemmas and allow me to explore concrete examples of controversial issues. In that capacity the class has been very helpful. Learning about the great philosophers and their ideas, particularly social contract theory, has made me examine and in most cases reinforce my opinions on a variety of moral issues.

One of the strong points of this class was the literature we read and the in-class discussions in which we explored the ideas presented in the assigned text. Though a portion of the reading was difficult and somewhat inaccessible, the professor's guided discussions of the readings always ensured that everyone was on the same page. The fact that some readings were very dense social contract theories in the tradition of Rousseau and Kant while others were fictional short stories also served to add variety to the course work.

Overall, this was a highly effective class that allowed students to expand as writers while receiving grounded, helpful critique from a qualified professor. However, I did not progress as much as a writer as I had hoped to by the end of this term. My main problem with essay writing, as it was in the beginning of the term, is quite simply time management. I write very meticulously and slowly, and so have had some difficulty completing assignments in the allotted time. The draft process also proved difficult for me to adjust to, because I edit as I write rather than writing a first draft and then refining it. A prime example of my difficulty with drafts is my research paper concerning the Death Penalty.

My initial draft of the Death Penalty paper was poorly written and not well organized. I did not allow myself enough time to research the subject matter, and I was both physically and mentally drained when I began the essay. In some ways this was helpful as it forced me to revise and re-write a significant portion of my paper to complete my final draft. Had I written a first draft that I was happy with from the start, it would have been difficult for me to make changes for my final draft. As it was I was able to make several important additions to my paper, namely a paragraph discussing how the death penalty is not administered universally or fairly across racial or gender-related lines. Additionally I polished and refined much of the sloppy writing of my first draft.

Initially, I thought that “Confronting Moral Dilemmas” was a course designed to help students understand the life and reproductive cycles of the Common European Mange-Donkey. I have always been extremely interested in equine biology, and so I jumped at the opportunity to learn about a specific subject in such depth. However, I quickly realized my assumptions concerning the course's subject matter were incorrect. Instead of mange-related fur deterioration and foot and mouth disease, we were discussing human rights issues!

Since I was initially misled by the course title, the remainder of this essay will not discuss my experience in “Confronting Moral Dilemmas”. Instead, I will present my own research relating to the behavioral and reproductive habits of the Common European Mange-Donkey. For the sake of concision I will refer to the Common European Mange-Donkey simply as “The Mange-Donkey”. Of course, if I were writing an essay concerning multiple species of Mange-Donkey (i.e American Mange-Donkeys, Afro-Asian Mange-Donkeys) than a greater degree of distinction would be necessary.

Mange-Donkeys are similar to standard donkeys, and both species belong to a greater family known as the Equidae family. This family also includes zebras, mules, and horses. Though horses look sleek and get most of the publicity, they also suck. Mules cannot reproduce, but they are great for party tricks, and zebras are more often striped than not. Mange-Donkeys, however, are in a class all of their own.

It has often been said that being a Mange-Donkey is not simply a matter of genetics- rather, it is a way of life. While it is certainly true that Mange-Donkeys are most easily distinguished by temperament rather than appearance, there are still visually observable distinctions that set the Mange-Donkey apart from the standard donkey. Physically speaking Mange-Donkeys are differentiated from the standard donkey by large, moth-eaten patches of hair, a certain troll-like cunning in the eye, and a strong North Yorkshire accent present in the bray. If they serve dual duties as Slapping Donkeys, Mange-Donkeys may also exhibit such characteristics as a balding or hairless hindquarter and a tattered mane and tail.

While it is commonly supposed that the Mange-Donkey came by its moniker because it is prone to a mange-like skin rash, this assumption is incorrect. The skin rash (known as “rain scald” or “mud fever”) is in fact common to both Mange-Donkeys and standard Donkeys, and is caused by prolonged exposure to damp conditions. In reality, “Mange-Donkeys” are known as such because they are half mange, half donkey. It is interesting to note that unlike most hybrid animals (mules, ligers) Mange-Donkeys can reproduce.

I have devoted much time and effort into researching the etymology of the word “donkey”, but have not had much success finding accurate sources. As a result, I have formulated my own theory concerning the names' derivation and origins. To me, the most logical answer is that the word “donkey” is a diminutive of “Don Quixote”, the name of the Spanish knight in Cervante's novel. Somewhere along the line, a committee was called and an executive decision was made to get rid of the oats and the tea, leaving only “Don Qui”. This became further corrupted as the syllables were combined into a single word and the spelling was anglicized, ultimately evolving into the modern English “Donkey”.

I feel that the skills I am lacking in terms of my writing abilities will all come simply as a matter of practice. The more papers I have to write to make a quick deadline, the more drafts I complete, the better and less frustrated I will be.

I'd probably get killed for doing this.

October 2014

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