Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Adventures of Errol, the Writing Center Knight

by Kevin Brown '12

In Franklin & Marshall Kingdom, revered throughout the land, site of scholarly pilgrimage for many, we set our tale.  For it was here that good Sir Errol, called Knight of Diagnothian, first came as a young squire in years past.  Hear his tale! Lend your attention to his chronicled feats!

It was in this kingdom, long ago, that a wizard of the Order of Syntaxis Invertedus approached the court of King Johannes Porterflad.  Inside Porterflad’s castle, the Olden Main, he received such wild looks from all who saw him that the wizard walked straight up to King Porterflad without much difficulty.

“Porterflad!” the wizard exclaimed, “To bear you a challenge, here have I come!  A great army your walls approaches. Ruthless, but also a wiseman, is their leader, and King Magnus Longus Altus they name him...but many simply call him the ‘MLA.’ So fearsome is he, legend tells he has been editing the same three-page BOS200 memo for the last eighty years…and ready for submission he still does not believe it!”

To this King Porterflad replied, “Gads!  What a cruel message is this!  And may not the MLA be dealt with?  Or shall he ruin me, and overwhelm everyone who comes against him?”

“Nay!” quoth the wizard, “very reasonable the MLA can be, if on his own terms him you meet. But if a Diplomat you plan to send, very courageous, as well as wise, that soul must be. That you go yourself recommend I cannot, for anyone who speaks in the passive voice without reason – as, I fear, you do – is sure to meet the MLA’s wrath.”

“Then summon Errol!” cried a young knight from the back of the hall. “He is my squire, and a solid jouster and swordsman, but we can hardly get him away from his books to train in the less liberal and more martial arts!  He is your man!”

“Let it be so,” said King Porterflad.

Thus Errol was summoned.

Before the King, he said, “If I am to face the MLA, I request a meeting with one of the Tutors from Diagnothian Tower!  From that center where young scholars train in the arts of logic and wit!”

A gasp filled the room, followed by several nods from the King’s advisors.

“I know,” said Errol, “that to get an appointment with them is probably impossible, but if you might arrange it, I will go to face the MLA fairly.”

King Porterflad smiled at Errol.  “You know, boy, the Tutors at the Writing Center in Diagnothian Tower are not so inaccessible.  You do not need the permission of a king or the decree of a wizard to visit their halls.  Go of your own free will, and reap the benefits of doing so!  Take this BOS200 memo to them, and learn to improve it so that the MLA will leave us in peace.”

Thus Errol left, and found it simple indeed to meet with a Tutor at that fabled Center.  His session with them was brief, but informative, and the young squire came confidently to the war tent of the MLA.

“You rascal!  You crave an audience with me?” Cried the MLA, “Cite my sources!  Fix my run-ons!  Make certain that my commas are in all the proper places!  Then, and only then, may you talk diplomacy with me.”

All these things Errol did, relying on what his Tutors had taught him.  The war tent grew silent as death while the MLA evaluated Errol’s work.  At last, however, the bearded war chief smiled widely, and told Errol to return to Franklin and Marshall Kingdom in peace.

“My armies will not trouble your towers, for I can tell you have visited the Tutors at Diagnothian.  Great tutors they are, and accessible and friendly, too!  Go in peace, and bear these M&Ms to your King Porterflad as a sign of good will.”

Thus Errol did, and such is the tale of how he rose from out of obscurity into fame.  This he could not have done without the writing Tutors’ help.  Lend your eyes and ears in the future to hear of Errol’s first quest, the Quest for the Holy Thesis! 

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