Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nice Try, Son ...


Now and then, I get fan mail. Sometimes it is to tell me they liked what wrote. Sometimes, it is to tell me I made a mistake in my text and what it was. Sometimes, the mail is a mistake -- they want the rock singer from Journey. Now and then, I get one that takes me task because the reader didn't like what I wrote. My favorite of these was a guy who went on for two pages in detail telling me what a stupid, badly-written story I had told, but ended it with a P.S. saying that he was looking forward to my next book. In that case my royalty on the book amounted to $0.32 -- my percentage of the cover price -- so I mailed that amount to him and told him not to bother reading any more of my stuff.

Sometimes, I get queries from students who are writing book reports, and they want answers to questions they can't find, so they ask directly. I got one of those today. See if you can spot the fun part of the questions the student asked. The names of the kid, school, and city are omitted to protect the guilty .
_______________________

Dear Mr. Perry:

I am an eigtht grader in Xxx Xxxxxx, Xx. I am working on a book report on Titan A.E. Part of my syllabus requires information that I have not been able to find anywhere. I am hoping that you can assist me by answering the following:

Date of Birth:

Where did you live when this novel was written?

Describe the social "climate" of the decade prior to the book's publication. What was happening with the government, with other countries, and with society in general that you viewed as a "problem", for example, racism, women's rights, abortion rights, etc. Please provide SPECIFIC occurrences and events.

Your response would be most appreciated and helpful!

Respectfully,
Xxxxxx Xxxxx
8th Grader
Pre-AP Language Arts
Xxxxxx Middle School
_________________

If I'd had access to the internet when I was in junior high, this is the kind of thing I'd have done -- Hey, mister! Would you write my report for me ... ?

4 comments:

p.n.elrod said...

Date of Birth: None of your effin' biz, my lad.

Where did you live when this novel was written?

In Margaritaville with Jimmy Buffett. He still phones. Such a lovely fellow.

Describe the social "climate" of the decade prior to the book's publication. What was happening with the government, with other countries, and with society in general that you viewed as a "problem", for example, racism, women's rights, abortion rights, etc. Please provide SPECIFIC occurrences and events.

It were effing humid, the whole decade. The Man was rippin' us off with pork barrel projects, as usual. Other countries hated us, nothin' new there. My problem with society was it wanted money I didn't have and took things badly when I told it where to go and what to do when it got there, and I danged well won't get specific 'cause the court case is still pending.

Your response would be most appreciated and helpful!

I doubt it, but give it a try. There's much enjoyment to be had in slackerland.

Cheers, Elrod

:waves, winks, and blows a kiss a to Steve:

Steve Perry said...

Ooh, Pat.

I'm much nicer than that. I gave him my DOB, told him more or less where I live, and then allowed as how I wasn't going to write his report for him. And what my daddy always told me when I asked him questions: Go look it it -- you'll remember it longer ...

p.n.elrod said...

LOL!

There was a link on a MB to your blog and I could NOT resist.

The one thing I recall my daddy saying was an incoherent "aaaaaagh!" when he was trying to teach me to use a clutch. (I never did figure them out.)

It's been ages I'm sure. Whenever we're guests at a con somewhere the panel topics never seem to intersect, so I'll just wave from a distance.

Anonymous said...

In a couple of internet forums I've been known to participate... We can always tell when the career search papers and term papers are due...

You start seeing lots of posts like "How has x changed your profession?" or "Why did you become a..."

And they're usually called on it, with the advice to do their own homework!