"You know that Newsweek feature MY TURN?," a tipster writes. "So about two years ago (maybe 3?) there was an essay from a former private tutor. She complains that so many spoiled terrible kids just expected her to do their work for them. She then goes into a sort of lengthy description of one particular disciple, who hung around his Downtown LA apartment all day, took tons of pills, and kept his girlfriend too high to leave the apartment. well guess who?! It was our Spencer [Pratt]. No one who knew him doubted it for a second. She actually painted a very accurate picture." And look: Here is that 'My Turn' essay from April, 2005! It's entitled "How Tutoring Rich Kids Cost Me My Dreams."
"Welcome to the world of professional paper-writing, the dirty secret of the tutoring business," wrote aspiring L.A. singer-songwriter Nicole Kristal. "It's facilitated by avaricious agencies, perpetuated by accountability-free parents and made possible by self-loathing nerds like me. For three-hour workdays, the ability to sleep in and the opportunity to get paid to learn, I tackled subjects like Dostoevsky while spoiled jerks smoked pot, took naps, surfed the Internet and had sex." Was one of those spoiled jerks Prince of Malibu Spencer Pratt? Well ...
Six months into the job, my boss sent me on a problem-solving mission for $10 more per hour than I was already making. He had earned C's and D's on papers for Evan (not his real name), a USC freshman my boss described as a "typical surfer retard." Evan's parents had hired "tutors" to compose their son's papers since he was 12 because he "wasn't going to be a writer anyway." They were furious.
In Evan's penthouse, surfers carved across the screen of his 51-inch television, next to a poster of "Scarface." The former clothes model handed me his assignment: to describe utopia. "I couldn't ask for a better life. I mean, was my soccer coach," Evan said, naming a famous studio head.
Despite living in utopia, during the session Evan purchased an ounce of weed and a bag of Xanax. His WASPy girlfriend washed down a pill with some Smart Water and offered me one. I declined. Evan sent me home with his $3,000 PowerBook to write his paper because he was "too busy" to work. Before I left, his girlfriend hired me to write her paper on "Do the Right Thing." I drove home at midnight, once again missing my chance to hit the music scene and battle my stage fright.
No matter. After I scored an A on Evan's paper, he promised to pass my demo on to a legendary music producer—a family friend. He also promised a few leftover pairs of designer jeans. He never mentioned either again, and I knew I'd been played. The only help Evan offered came in the form of new clients, such as his roommate, who had one-night stands with strippers and said things like "Why should I care about some little black girl?" in regard to Toni Morrison novels.
When my streak of A's ended after I scored a B-minus on Evan's paper about clanship in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," I never heard from him again. His teenage sibling, for whom I composed countless high-school English papers, revealed that Evan had replaced me with a classmate.