Department of English October, Any Year I. M. Musselman, Head Coach Memorial Gymnasium Any College, U. S. A. Dear Coach Musselman: Keeping in mind our discussions of your football men who are having troubles in English, I have decided to ask you, in turn, for help. We feel that Paul Spindles, one of our most promising scholars, has a chance for a Rhodes Scholarship, which would be a great thing for him and for our college. Paul has the academic record for this award, but we find that the aspirant is also required to have other excellences, and ideally, should have a good record in athletics. Paul is a weakling. He tries hard, but he has troubles in athletics. We propose that you give some special consideration to Paul as a varsity player, putting him, if possible, in the backfield of the football team. In this way we can show a better college record to the committee deciding on the Rhodes Scholarships. We realize that Paul will be a problem on the field, but--as you have often said--cooperation between our department and yours is a highly desirable thing; we do expect Paul to try hard, of course. During intervals of study we shall coach him as much as we can. His work in English Club and on the debate team will force him to miss many practices, but we intend to see that he carries an old football around to bounce (or whatever one does with a football) during intervals in his work. We expect Paul to show entire good will in his work for you, and though he will not be able to begin football practice until late in the season, he will finish the season with good attendance. Sincerely yours, Benjamin Plotinus, Chairman Department of English
This classic spoof has been widely circulated, sometimes under the title "Turn About is Fair Play", often without credit to the author. Prof. Stafford, an English Professor at Lewis and Clark College said, in a 1979 letter to me, "I am pleased to find that masterpiece of mine homogenized into folklore."
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