Fred Raker’s comedy career began in New York City, where he was a stand-up comedian, working alongside luminaries such as Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser. He later landed in Hollywood, writing for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Currently an Ingleside resident, he’s the author of The Official Trump Bitterness Quiz, available on Amazon.
Dear Ethics Guy:
My daughter asked for my help with her college essays as I’m a professional writer. (I just self-published a novel, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, A Sean Hannity Mystery.) I agreed and was horrified. Her sentence structure and vocabulary are like that of a Kardashian. My instinct is to do a complete rewrite. If not, I’m afraid she won’t get into college and, heaven forbid, end up like her mother (my ex-wife), who lives in Tajikistan and hosts the reality show, “So You Think You Can Herd Goats.” But if I do go the rewrite route, I feel like I’m crossing an ethical red line. I’ve thought about hiring an essay tutor but that feels equally wrong. Not to mention dirty, like the time I had an affair with a porn star and paid her $500 not to tell my wife, which she did anyway because the check bounced, and she called the house and my wife answered and, well, that was the end of that. Anyway, what should I do about my daughter?
Dear Mr. Withheld:
You are 100 percent correct. Rewriting your daughter’s college essays is not ethical. But you’re also 100 percent correct that if they’re not rewritten, she will not get into college. My son wrote his own essays and they were atrocious, like something you’d read on the wall of the men’s room at the Greyhound Bus Terminal only not as insightful. After hours of painful debate, my wife and I decided to cough up the dough for professional help. While our son’s essays were greatly improved—he was accepted early admission to Harvard Barber College—the tutor totally ripped us off. His fee of $1500 an hour was 10 times the national average. And even though he threw in a $15 Arby’s gift card, we are currently in the process of suing him. That said, it doesn’t mean hiring a tutor is unethical. Just make sure not to hire one that advertises on the wall of the men’s room at the Greyhound Bus Terminal.
Dear Ethics Guy:
For the past 55 years, I have been harboring a resentment that I can no longer harbor. On November 22, 1963, I was having a picnic lunch with a co-worker from the Texas Book Depository on the grassy knoll about an hour before President Kennedy’s motorcade was scheduled to pass by. The lunch consisted of pastrami sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks, which I got at Bubba’s New York-Style Delicatessen. I paid for everything and expected my co-worker to reimburse me. However, it never happened. That’s because my co-worker was Lee Harvey Oswald, who was mistakenly arrested for the assassination of the president. While I feel bad for him and his subsequent murder at the hands of Jack Ruby, I’m still miffed about the $5.87 I’m out. I plan to ask his wife Marina to repay me but I’m not sure if it’s ethical. I’m also afraid she’ll refuse even though I still have the receipt. What should I do?
Dear Mr. Withheld:
You have every right to ask for the money, especially since you have the receipt. Without it, you would be skating on thin ethical ice. A decade ago, I bought some itching powder for a friend who wanted to play a practical joke on her husband. She had no cash and said she would repay me. A year went by and I still had not received my money. I was furious. (At one point, I seriously considered placing fake vomit on her front porch.) Once the anger subsided, I confronted my friend. She got very defensive, denying she ever asked me to buy itching powder. I then produced the receipt. She broke down and cried, apologizing profusely for lying. She repaid me on the spot and then hugged me for over a minute. As I drove home, my back started itching like crazy. That said, don’t expect too much from Oswald’s wife. If you get the money, great. Just don’t let her hug you unless you can frisk her first.