Advice to a child from notorious convicts and esteemed Americans

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, That's Entertainment

If a little boy sent an earnest letter to famous (and infamous) Americans, seeking their advice on whether he should continue with his education, what would the response be?

That simple question is the focus of a rather fascinating human experiment profiled in this month's issue of Radar Magazine. The story actually stretches back to almost a decade ago, when an unemployed 30-something with too much time on his hand decided to write to murderers, politicians, and celebrities. Bill Geerhart developed a pseudonym, that of a curious 10-year-old named Billy -- and wrote letters to some of the most influential (and notorious) people of our time.

The results surprised even Geerhart, with celebrities from Alan Greenspan to Oprah Winfrety taking the time to reply to his child alter-ego. Personally, I found the replies of notorious and dangerous criminals to be the most interesting (albeit slightly disturbing)

When 10-year-old "Billy" asked Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker) if he should stay in school, Richard says, yes, he should (and also please send pictures of girls in bikinis.) Charles Manson's reply is unintelligible but strangely fascinating and the Unabomber's letter back is almost breathtaking in its banality.

"Billy" also writes an earnest letter to Alan Greenspan, asking him how to save up for a boat, and to Larry Flynt requesting a Hustler for kids. Even though I really hope my own son will ask for education and (god help me) porn advice from his family, these answers were sure entertaining to read. Human beings, no matter their background, respond to kids on such a different level.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.