From time to time, one of my longtime radio friends asks me to inspire and delight his class of writing scholars.

Being reimbursed for this exercise does not detract from the enjoyment I get from doing it.

This year, however, I had just been diagnosed with Lyme disease and my right knee was about the size of a battered softball. Unable to wave my arms in the air and run wildly about the room, as is my wont, I settled back in a padded chair and could add emphasis only by pounding my crutch on the floor.

There are many kinds of writing, so we could touch on only two or three.

One of the most popular exercises is imitating the writing found in the J. Peterman clothing catalog, which you probably know is called an “Owner’s Manual.” The Peterman Owner’s Manual does not describe the dress or jacket but elaborates on what the Duke of York says to you in the regal milieu in which you wear it.

One year, advertising psychologist Gar Roper went with me and told the kids about writing copy that sold nicotine patches – and converting a squeaky, wimpy Mickey Mouse into a hipster. We then wrote ads that would make people willing to steal from their poor old blind grandmother so they could buy our products.

This year, guitar virtuoso Denny Breau accompanied us as we sang “Dippin’ Copenhagen Snuffed Out My Old Flame.” Denny then sang one of his original songs, and students followed up by writing the lyrics to a song of their own.

If you look for the “Dippin’ ” song, you will find only one published copy of it. Bed-and-breakfast guest Alton Lawson from North Carolina sang what he could remember of it, and I put it up on YouTube. Up until a recent date, it has not gone viral.

Although it is a writing class, in between exercises I feel obligated to pass along a scrid of wisdom.

 No. 1: When election time comes around, pay particular attention to the first crop of posters to appear. There will be dozens, if not hundreds of them, promoting some bond issue or candidate. The vast number of signs indicates that someone with a lot more money than you have desperately wants your vote.

If, for example, you see dozens of these colorful early posters urging you to vote “yes” on No. 16, you can bet that when you get home and look up No. 16, you will quickly discover that it will be to your social or economic advantage to vote “no” on No. 16. After a few years, when you find that these posters are as reliable as the tides, early posters can save you much time in unnecessary research.

 No. 2: Because 50 of my 80 years were spent as a single man, I offer my advice on marriage only on a for-what-it’s-worth basis. Many Maine men my age have been married for over 60 years, and you should listen closely whenever one of them has a chance to speak.

One of the greatest lies passed along to young people is that “you have to work at a marriage.”

The fact of the matter is that in any craft, someone has to be the skipper: Were two captains to set a course, many ships would run aground. Should two captains waste the time it takes to flip a coin, many ships would founder. Young people should understand that this is why many marriages end in divorce and why very few Maine captains put ships up on the rocks.

My observations are predicated on the fact that your average intelligent man marries a woman who is smarter than he is. This is why a wise husband never argues with his wife.

For example, he might want to spend their winter vacation in Fort Kent running a snow-making machine for the dogsled races, and he gives his reasons. She says they are going to spend that $15,000 on smartphones for their 13 grandchildren, and that’s that.

Having been down this road before, he smiles, nods and says nothing, because he knows that within five minutes, his wife will change her mind. It really doesn’t matter to her what they do – as long as she is the one making the decision.

We ended the class with an editing exercise that entailed two sheets of paper stapled together. Last month I printed out my Portland Press Herald column on a similar two sheets, stapled them together and gave it to my wife, Marsha, to edit. It gave her fits. I had inadvertently stapled the second page on top.

Oh, there can be so much more to a writing class than writing.

The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland and visited at his website: