The Thesis

This exposition of academic realities was posted on the groaners listserv. I sent out a considerably shorter version ten years ago.


It’s a fine sunny day in the forest; and a rabbit is sitting outside his burrow, tippy-tapping on his lap top. Along comes a fox, out for a walk.

Fox: “What are you working on?”
Rabbit: “My thesis.”
Fox: “Hmmmmm. What is it about?”
Rabbit: “Oh, I’m writing about how rabbits eat foxes.”

(incredulous pause)

Fox: “That’s ridiculous! Any fool knows that rabbits don’t eat foxes!”
Rabbit: “Come with me and I’ll show you!”

They both disappear into the rabbit’s burrow. After a few minutes, gnawing on a fox bone, the rabbit returns to his lap top and resumes typing. Soon a wolf comes along and stops to watch the hard working rabbit.

(Tippy-tap, tippy-tap, tippy-tippy-tap).

Wolf: “What’s that you are writing?”
Rabbit: “I’m doing a thesis on how rabbits eats wolves.”

(loud guffaws).

Wolf: “You don’t expect to get such rubbish published, do you?”
Rabbit: “No problem. Do you want to see why?”

The rabbit and the wolf go into the burrow, and again the rabbit returns by himself. This time he is patting his stomach. He goes back to his typing.

(Tippy-tap, tippy-tap, tippy-tippy-tap).

Finally a bear comes along and asks, “What are you doing?”
Rabbit: “I’m doing a thesis on how rabbits eats bears.”
Bear: “Well that’s absurd!”
Rabbit: “Come into my home and I’ll show you.”


Inside the rabbit’s burrow. In one corner, there is a pile of fox bones. In another corner is a pile of wolf bones. On the other side of the room a huge lion is belching and picking his teeth.


It doesn’t matter what you choose for a thesis topic.
It doesn’t matter what you use for your data.
It doesn’t even matter if your topic makes sense.
What matters is who you have for a thesis advisor.

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