When I was 29, my old college buddy Ron said he wanted to be my patron.
Ron had written fiction at UCLA, just like me, but had given up the artsy life to study law at Berkeley while I had continued writing. After earning his law degree and passing the bar, he quickly became a millionaire through personal-injury law and owned a white Jaguar, a white Mercedes, and a house in Malibu. He told me that the key to making money in his area of the law was paying off the tow-truck drivers, which he said was “technically against the law, but hey, nobody enforces it.” He was also the only personal-injury lawyer in our metropolis at that time who spoke both English and Korean.
However, since Ron knew that finding the time to write novels was difficult, he wanted to support me in that endeavor.
So I went to his office and made 10 photocopies of a chapter of my new novel, which I was preparing for my novel-writing class at UCLA Extension.
A day or two later, Ron called and said that after talking to his office manager, he was having second thoughts about this patron business.
“I wasn’t aware of this,” he said, “but did you know that photocopy machines use up something called toner? And that that’s really expensive?”