OUR YOUNG PEOPLE are writing with greater enthusiasm and frequency than ever before, largely because of the prevalence of text messaging in the youth culture of today. Yet the abysmal literary quality of these communications has often been remarked. Dr. Boli is of the opinion that this deficiency is to be attributed to the lack of good models, such as were readily available when he was a young man in the form of “standard letter-writers,” collections of letters for every common circumstance. In this occasional series, Dr. Boli attempts to fill that gap by providing useful examples to show how the art of text messaging might be raised to a higher standard.

Letter from a Young Gentleman to a Prospective Employer.

Dear Sir:

It is, as I have always believed, incumbent upon every young man who is reasonably healthy, and of sound mental capacity, to seek by any means to render himself useful to the world at large, and to exercise his God-given abilities in a manner that conduces at once to the benefit of his community and to his own development, both in skill and in virtue. It behooves him, in fact, to be always “on the lookout,” to use a colorful colloquial expression, for any such opportunity; nor should he allow one to pass when it presents itself.

This is my excuse for imposing upon your attention at the present moment: for after last night’s considerable accumulation of snow, I made a brief survey of our street, and happened to notice (I hope you will pardon the liberty) that your sidewalk had not yet been cleared of that attractive but inconvenient crystalline deposit which nature, in her bounty, shed so abundantly but indiscriminately over our neighborhood.

Here at once I perceived a chance both to render a valuable service and to put my otherwise idle hands (for you must be aware that city schools are closed today) to good use. In short, for I would not waste your time unnecessarily, I thought that I might undertake the removal of the snow from your sidewalk.

It is customary on such occasions for the owner of the property to offer a small remuneration; the generally accepted rate at present is ten dollars an hour. I believe the entire job could be completed in one hour, in addition, of course, to the three hours I have spent composing this message, for a total of only $40, exclusive of applicable taxes. Hoping, therefore, to receive a favorable response at your earliest convenience, I am

Your ready and obedient servant,