This dissertation [will not have been? is never going to be?] would not have been possible without the unending guidance and oversight of my [wise? erudite? stern? loving?] brilliant advisor. Your [gnomic wisdom? elliptical questions?] comments have been a source of [confusion? betrayal?] help for many years, and I can’t [wait for?] imagine what life after the defense will be like. I [forgive you? absolve you?] don’t blame you for the three {confirm?} additional years I spent developing conference papers on topics unrelated to my research in order to “build my CV” and “professionalize” {sounds grumpy—remove?}. I do [thank you for? forgive you for? acknowledge your role in?] blame you for getting me tied up with that unpaid research assistantship inexplicably working with ancient papyri that ended [in flames? in tears?] so regretfully, further delaying my defense by eighteen months.

Of course, this also meant that we could wait for my prospective external examiner, Professor Williamson, to [retire? bow out gracefully?] die, allowing us to choose one who had not told me that he couldn’t wait to get his revenge for my having [destroyed? extinguished?] permanently archived the subject of his life’s work. (Who’s [crying? grieving? relieved?] laughing now, Professor?) {consider removing?} Nevertheless, it all worked out in the end, so [I look forward to working with you in the future? I anticipate our joint paper on advances in safe working practices around ancient texts?] no hard feelings.

To our department’s truly [enslaved? underappreciated? in-charge?] hard-working administrators, Jennifer and Jeremy, you are the reason we all keep coming back day after day. You also told us that we would not be [reimbursed?] paid if we did not come in, but I do not think that my [grandpa’s life savings] funding actually requires that of me. Thank you for letting me store my satchel in your office the day all the graduate student cubicles flooded. I am [surprised? upset?] grateful that the graduate student office and basement of the humanities building has a fire-suppression system.

Thank you to my parents. Mom and Dad, you [always doubted that?] definitely never thought I could do it and that [dagger-to-the-heart? ill-conceived encouragement?] sentiment has stuck with me these past ten {confirm?} long years. Many times, whenever I have questioned my spelling of “friendship” or wondered at my need to silently pronounce the nes in “Wednesday,” I think of [what you’ve done? my therapy bills? this dissertation as a mistake?] you. Well, my dissertation is all done now so: In. Your. Face. {update this once dissertation is actually done and revisions are submitted, etc.}

To my beloved partner, [John] Neil: [John? you? I?] we did it {confirm?}! This whole experience cost a lot for our little family, not least of which was the loss of all of our belongings in the [freak ancient papyri accident? inappropriate research assistantship request?] tragic event last year. At least we have each other {confirm?}. This dissertation is for you—that is, the research I did was mostly to try to understand why you act the way you do, especially that weird thing you do [with your teeth? with your feet?] when you try to sing. (NB: I will likely need to do a post-doc as well.)

The last thank you must go to our beloved cat, Mr. Monocle, fearsome eater of mice and manipulator of data {remove?}.