"Uh… this is a message for Marshall Jones…"

“…This is Tom O’Neal, your W131 professor. I was wondering if I might use your paper as a model…”

So began the legendary message I received on my answering machine. Seconds lately, I answered the phone.

Professor O’Neal, my first semester, English professor in college, had tried a new kind of paper – I think he called it a “bibliographic analysis” or “bibliographic essay.”

The idea was to analyze the sources we were going to use in our semester research project. He’d never given this assignment before (and I’d never heard of such a thing), so the rest of the class and I were scared. What did he want?

I turned in my paper wondering what grade I’d receive.

A few days later, he called.

He said he wanted to use my paper as a model for his other class so they could see what kind of paper he wanted. He added, “I’m going to use it as a model of an A-paper.”

I was ecstatic. That was the first time anyone had cared much about anything I’d written. Of course I told him he could use it.

He said he could leave my name on the paper or remove it if I wanted to remain anonymous. I said, “Either way. You can leave it on – that’s fine.” :>)