I got this email today:
I am rather interested in learning English through reading, and recently I came upon a text entitled "They Stole Our Childhood", which was probably written by you a long time ago, I guess. I enjoyed reading the text, especially your humorous style, but I found that I could not understand two sentences very well: 1. when our long-pressed childish side rears its playful head; 2. We can start by realizing that this generation, which may have it together intellectually, paid with its adolescence. I am wondering if you could explain to me what you mean by saying these? Thank you very much, and looking forward to hearing from you.
I wrote the essay as a "My Turn" column for Newsweek back in the early 1980s. The piece has since been republished in a number of textbooks, including "Marraige and the Family Experience" , "Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays With Readings," and "Designing Ideas: An Anthology for Writers." What amused me about her email was that she went to the trouble of hunting me down… just so she could ask me to do her homework assignment for her.
Yes, that’s right, the questions she asked me were two essay assignments from her textbook. I admire her chutzpah — but I wonder why she didn’t put the same effort and creativity into actually doing her home work.