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Use Your Powers For Good, Not Evil

There I was, lurking in front of a newstand in downtown Chicago, watching in anticipation as some guy in a grey suit picked up a copy of Pickup Van and Four-Wheel Drive magazine. The man opened the magazine to the table of contents and a moment later turned to page 67 and began to read a story that I had written. My heart stopped. It was the very first article I ever published and here was some guy reading it.

My heart pounded. I couldn’t help but to proudly blurt out, “I wrote that story.”

The man half turned, looked me square in the eye and said, “Really.”

I nodded.

He looked at me, smiled, then went on to continue to reading. After a moment, he walked to the checkout counter and bought the magazine.

Mister, whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

A week later the exact same article came into play in a nightclub in the corn belt. I was sitting around a table with a buddy and a bunch of people I didn‘t know. One of the strangers was a pompous ass, holding court, and explaining for all the world to hear, his mastery on the subject of alternative fuels. The only problem was he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Politely, I clarified the more serious of the mis-information he was disseminating. Even though my words were well intentioned, it ended up being a bad move on my part.

Understandably, his response was a scathing look and a nasty comment. He voiced the opinion that it was me who didn't know what the hell I was talking about.

No problem. I changed tactics. “Gee. I think I’m right because I just read it in a recent issue of Pickup Van and 4WD, in an article written by Tim Banse.”

He did not know me from Adam. His eyes glazed over in defeat. “Oh,” he said. Then of course you’re right. . .”

This is the power of the written word. The pen/keyboard is a sharp edged sword. Wield it wisely, for it is absolute necessity for freelance writers to be correct in the details of their story. That means go to the primary source. Never ever rely on what other writers have said before you. Don’t be lazy. Don’t blindly trust what you find on the internet. And be gentle to idiots in nightclubs with a couple of beers under their belt. You are like a black belt and have a higher responsibility than others less powerful than you. - next chapter - table of contents -