SideLines: Revisiting my old friend Tom Sawyer
It is one of the great scenes in American literature, as impractical as it is hilarious.
Tom Sawyer has been delegated to whitewash a fence for his Aunt Polly. Not just any fence, but one that stands 9 feet tall and spans 30 yards.
With the ingenuity that marks most of Mark Twain’s work, Tom manages to trick his friends into thinking whitewashing is a privilege, rather than a chore, something not everyone gets to do.
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