How My College Came to have an Ass Degree

How My College Came to have an Ass Degree


By Elton Camp



            It’s always been my goal to issue writing that is completely free of mistakes.  For many years there was practically no way to achieve that while producing material that was “professional” looking. 


            For decades, correction called for pulling the typewriter carriage to one side to keep the crumbs off the keys and literally erasing the mistake and retyping.  The correction was painfully obvious.  Of course, one could retype the page, but the potential for another error was high and retyping consumed blocks of time. 


            Then came White Out.  The fluid enabled the author “paint”over mistakes and retype.  It was an improvement over erasing, but it remained unmistakable that an error had been made. 


            The next advance was a white tape that put color only on the offending letters.  I recall my excitement at how nearly the correction was to being invisible.  “It doesn’t get any better than this,” I thought. 


            Then came word processing.  I was fifty years old when the college computer staff introduced the new technology to faculty.  No matter how many corrections I made, nobody had a clue.  I was delighted with the new power that had been placed into my hands.  Within a couple of years, the college put me in charge of editing the “Self-Study,” a book-size analysis of our institution. 


            “I’m going to put out a Self-Study without a single mistake,” I boasted to the academic dean.  “Just wait and see.” 


            When the report was complete, I proofread it again and again and had others on the faculty to do the same.  Just to be on the safe side, the day before I sent the disk to the printer, I ran the spell checker as a final assurance of accuracy.  It didn’t stop to highlight a single mistake.  I had achieved my goal.


            In due time, a committee of faculty and administrators from other colleges arrived for the on-campus visit.  Part of its duty was to confirm that the Self-Study represented the actual conditions at the college and that it had been prepared with the appropriate inputs.  The group’s smiling approval and favorable exit report were a major triumph for all involved.  I was sure that my error-free book had contributed mightily. 


            While driving the group to the airport for return to their various institutions, I heard sniggering and saw smiles of amusement.  “What’s so funny,” I asked?  By that time we had become friends

            “We were talking about one of the degrees your college awards,” replied a grinning member of the team. 


            It quickly emerged that the associate in Applied Science degree, abbreviated AAS, had appeared at every place at the ASS degree.  I was dumbfounded until I recalled the spell check.  The Auto Correct had replaced the letters it didn’t recognize with a word that was in its memory.  That’s how we came to have an ass degree!  When I laughed, so did the visitors. 


            Over the months ahead, Auto Correct changed the name of the college vice president from “Devin” to “Devil,” our main benefactor from “Bevill” to “Be evil,” and the name of neighboring “Snead” College to “Seed” College.  Having learned a lesson, I managed to catch those.  The experience had ended my blind reliance on computers.  They are electronic idiots that do exactly what they are programmed to do.  It’s up to us human idiots to keep them in check. 


There are no messages yet
Short Story
writing Elton4562

Bookmark and Share

You must log in to rate.
This has not been rated.

A document free of mistakes?