Thursday, May 12, 2005

Another family rant, for good posterity

I was in a meeting yesterday when my aunt, Lynn, called and left a cryptic message on my voicemail.

I thought someone was dead.

As it turned out, nobody was dead. But my cousin? Definitive confirmation that he is embarrassingly lazy.

Aunt Lynn answered the phone panting and ranting.

Paul has the rough draft of a paper due in English class tomorrow!
His teacher called me and said that is failing!
If he doesn't turn in a good rough draft, he'll fail the class!
If he fails the class, he won't graduate!

Paul is my 17-year-old cousin, Aunt Lynn's only child. He's not stupid. He's lazy.

I promised Aunt Lynn that, because I am a selfless and awesome cousin and niece, I would gladly help him with his paper.

Aunt Lynn thanked me profusely.

And then she let slip the oh-so crucial detail that she neglected to tell me before I agreed to sign my evening away writing a high school research paper.

The teacher said that little Paulie had a half-page of his paper written; the majority of his classmates, however, had managed to churn out between five and seven pages.


I politely suggested that Aunt Lynn sit Paul's punk ass down and have him start writing the minute that he got home so that we would have more than 200 words to work with.

"I can't!" Aunt Lynn wailed.

Oh. How silly of me to assume that, because YOU ARE THE PARENT, you have some sort of pull and influence over your son. No wonder he's doing so well in class.

Take him to the library, I insisted. Make him write. Take him to Starbucks. Eliminate the distractions that are his computer (and email and AOL Instant Messenger) and the television and the refrigerator and his Xbox.

"He won't! I can't!" Aunt Lynn screeched. I imagine that her wails echoed through her office and pissed off her coworkers, even though they should probably be used to how frigging loud she is.

I threw up, gave up and hung up.

I went to soccer practice straight from work and to Paul's house straight from soccer practice. When I got there, at 8:15, I'd been out of the house for 13 hours.

And Paul had a whopping half-page.

What I wanted to do was beat some ass. What I did do, however, was clap my hands and squeal with feigned excitement and tell Paul all about how we were going to finish his paper and the world was going to continue to turn and he would graduate and everything would be swell.

We sat at the dining room table. We ate breadsticks and Greek salad. We wrote.

Well, not exactly.

I dictated. Paul typed what I dictated, even though I told him every seven seconds to rephrase my sentences into his own words.

We got it done. It is likely that Paul will graduate. I saved the day.

But I don’t feel good about it.


ropedncr said...

seriously bad things can happen when kids are excused from natural consequences. i should know. i was one such case. the loml would probably still be in a house instead of a two-bedroom apartment if i'd ever learned not to be such an independent asshole. he thinks you've done him a big favor (or maybe not - he may think it was his due), but you really haven't. speaking of parenting issues. when our daughters went into 7th grade, there was an orientation at school for the parents. when the subject of discipline came up, one father said, 'but how can you control them. they want to stay out till midnight, and you can't say no.' i beg your pardon. are you on crack?

Stace said...

Yeah I wouldn't feel good about it either, one of these days though it will bite him in the ass and no one but himself will help him out of it, hopefully he will get sense prior to that time.

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