OLD TIMER WHIPS OUT
The first week after the ad appeared I got several orders. The
subjects were varied and ranged from pets and livestock to highway
safety, sports and building bird houses. Most of the specified lengths
were one to five pages. A few were requested with a certain number of
words. Since I typed the pages and the writing would be copied in the
student’s own handwriting it was a little difficult to know just how
much to type. I did a little experimenting in rewriting the typed pages
and came up with what I considered a workable formula. I enclosed a note
telling the customer that since the size of writing varied to use
smaller or larger letters in copying to get the required number of
pages. I guessed that if the manuscript were a little longer the teacher
wouldn’t complain. I continued to get a few orders every week for the
remainder of the school term. I had placed two more ads in the magazine
and I was well pleased with the results.
A few days after I started the project I got a letter from a boy
asking for the return of his money. He said the teacher told him it
“didn’t sound like him and accused him of copying it.” He received
an F because of it and was instructed to write another one. This sounded
reasonable and I cheerfully returned his fee. I received several letters
from satisfied customers. Most of them had made an A or B. A few
reported a C or C+ but no one reported a failure except for the one
whose theme didn’t sound like him.
Perhaps the hardest task I received was to write several pages
explaining why intangible taxes would be better than tangible taxes for
the majority of the population of the United States. I certainly
wasn’t a tax expert and I had no idea what he was talking about. I had
to call on some of the smartest folks I knew for their ideas on this
subject. Some of them didn’t know either. I hit the spot when I talked
to our high school civics teacher. I found out that tangible taxes were
taxes on property and intangible taxes were taxes on such things as
gasoline, cigarettes, movie tickets etc.
After I discovered what the question was about it was easy enough
to find an argument for the intangible taxes. You could pay your taxes
that way and you hardly knew you were being taxed. Those with money to
buy were supposedly in better financial condition to pay taxes. The poor
farmers being taxed for owning the little non-profitable farms certainly
didn’t have any money to spend for taxes.
I didn’t hear any more from the tax question so I presumed that
it was convincing enough for the purpose.
The theme writing project did not make me rich but it supplied a
nice little income for a farm boy student. Actually, I made a little
more than I made during the fur season. Writing essays was much cleaner
and pleasant than skinning ‘possums and skunks.
When the school term came to an end, so did the orders for my
writing. It was evident that it was a seasonal occupation. I thought I
might try it again the next year, but I got involved n other things and
never got back to the business of helping students cheat.
I got a letter from some girl or lady for whom I had written a
highway safety paper that excited me a little. She said she had entered
it in an essay contest and she had won second place and a prize of five
dollars. She had made a very nice profit and I made a smaller profit.
Was this business endeavor a lot of fun? It was! Perhaps you
should try something like this; you could charge a lot more now for the
service and by using email you could save two cents on postage!