Accismus (ak-iz’-mus): A feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.

After forty years, I finally got an award. I deserved it so much that I wanted to curse the awards committee for overlooking me all these years, and maybe hit one of them over the head with the little plaque—the size of a Hershey Bar. I expected to stick around for another 20 years, so I didn’t want to ruin my chances for another award, so I faked it, saying I didn’t deserve it and I couldn’t accept it. Professor Clap, a drama professor in the front row yelled “You’re damn right! I’ll come up there and get it Prof. Bullshit Slacker.” The audience applauded and hooted, and Clap started to get out of his seat. At that point Dean Rambling intervened. He yelled “Sit down Clap! The committee was unanimous in selecting Professor Duly for the college’s Nick Belgium Treadmill Award—for going nowhere, but never giving up. As we know, Mr. Belgium, our most distinguished alum, had inherited tremendous wealth and spent prolifically on crackpot schemes, most notably, the solar-powered banana peeler. Not one of his schemes succeeded, but he never gave up. Most people considered him an idiot, but he endowed the College’s Treadmill Award—which carries a $20.00 cash stipend, divided into 20 equal payments. He also endowed the Pyramid Chair in Economics which is currently held by Prof. Bagman, who, as everybody knows, now teaches via Zoom from Rahway State Prison in New Jersey. Now, shut the hell up.”

I shook hands with Dean Rambling and left auditorium to catcalls and wadded up paper thrown at me. When I got outside, I looked at my car. It was a rusted up piece of shit. I had never been able to afford a new car, but now that I was an award winning Professor, I went to “Stony Joe’s Used Wheels” out on Highway 61. I told Stony I had just won an award, so it was time to buy a car. I didn’t tell him about the meager stipend. He said, “I’ve got just the thing—super discounted for a sharp-looking guy like you.” He took me across the lot to a nearly new Cadillac parked about 20 feet off the lot. It had about 20-30 of those pine tree air fresheners hanging around the mirror. I opened the car door and it stunk of cherries—so oppressive that I could almost feel the smelly cherries in my nostrils. Stony told me the car had belonged to a rich nutcase named Belgium who had never succeeded at anything. He had sat in his running car in the garage with the door closed. He went the way of the angels 2 months ago. Accordingly, he sat in his garage decomposing for 2 months. The warm summer days helped turn him almost into liquid. If you want his nearly new Cadillac for $1,000, it’s yours. Just change the air fresheners once-a-week—cherry works best.”

I thought “Oh the irony.” I bought Belgium’s Cadillac. I religiously changed the air fresheners and learned to like their smell. My colleagues at Aaron Burr College like my smell. I have found that this is a key to earning their respect, that, and owning a nearly new Cadillac. I am eligible for the Gerber “Spoon Fed Teaching Award” this year. It is awarded to “the faulty member who consistently adjusts their standards to assure a minimum grade of “B” for all their students.” I’ve had my eyes on this award for years. I’ve gone the extra mile by ensuring a B+ for all of my students in my signature philosophy course: “Life is a Bowl of Cherries.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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