Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 29th, 2011, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 12, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 12, Issue 7

It's X in the Box

And it's sitting on the Periodic Table


My 14-year-old son, the one who knows everything (just ask him), brought home a school progress report. Based on the information in this progress report, apparently he doesn’t know everything. Actually, when it comes to science class, it seems he doesn’t know any-damn-thing. No matter how much he hopes it would, an “F” on a report card does not stand for “finished.”

My son tried to be sly about slipping me the progress report, which needed an official parent signature. He handed me a bundle of wrinkled papers that looked they’d been riding around in his backpack for a week. I flipped through the pages, throwing a quick set of initials on stuff that the school thinks I need to know, but I really don’t care about (like what day they are serving tater tots instead of Sloppy Joe’s). Then I found the piece of paper that did matter, and I did care very much about: the progress report. I’m not sure if “progress report” is the correct term for it, since having an F in a class is only possible if no actual progress in learning is made.

I was completely taken aback by the F. Normally, my son is an A student, so the F on his progress report was quite a surprise. He must have seen the unhappiness on my face, because my son did a quick about face and began to march out of the kitchen. I told him to “halt!” My son slowly turned around and tried to look perplexed, as if he had no idea in the world why I would be stopping him.

“Son, I hope you’re videotaping this right now with plans to put my reaction on YouTube, because you must be playing a practical joke on me!”

“I don’t know what you mean?”

“Sorry if I’m not being clear. I get very sarcastic when I’m angry. It’s my personal method to keep myself from ending your life sometimes.”

My son looked nervous and asked, “You want to end my life?”

“I want to end it for a few seconds, yes. Then I want to bring you back to life and make you fix your grade.”

“Death for an F?”

“Yes, it rhymes. How could this have happened?”

My son stood there staring at me, silent. He just had a bewildered look on his face. I could tell the wheels were spinning in his head; unfortunately, someone had jacked up the back of his car, allowing the wheels to spin freely, so he wasn’t going anywhere. I waited patiently, but he just couldn’t make the rubber meet the road in his mind. Since my son couldn’t come up with any answers, I began to ask him more specific questions—easier ones, like, “Do you know where your science class is located?” After some lengthy interrogation, I found out that the reason—or person, I should say, who was keeping my son from moving an inch mentally, was his science lab partner. I should be a bit more specific: It was his female lab partner. Suddenly all became clear to me.

The curriculum for my son’s science class deals with the solar system and the Periodic Table. Unfortunately, my son hasn’t memorized any of the elements on the Periodic Table because he’s concentrating on the single female element sitting across from him. This girl has him seeing stars, but they aren’t the constellations he’s supposed to be learning in class. The only science he’s learning is the science of pheromones.

Since my son was having a tough time figuring out how to succeed in science and handle species of the opposite sex, I decided to help him along. I knew there was one thing that would convince him to concentrate harder in school: “No more Xbox until your grade is up!”

“What?” he argued. “What does my Xbox have to do with my science grade?”

“Son, I only gave you an Xbox for one reason, and that was so that someday I could take it away from you. That’s right. I said it. I gave you something that I knew you would love so much that you thought you couldn’t live without it. I did that just so I would actually have something to leverage you with.”

“Huh?” my son asked, surprised.

“I didn’t buy you an Xbox so you could play Call of Duty and run around blowing the heads off of Nazi zombies. I bought it for you so I could rip it right out of your hands.”

“That’s messed up!”

“No, getting an F in science class is messed up.”

“If I get my grades up, do I get the Xbox back?”

Yes, of course. That’s how this whole thing works.”

“I want to get an A in science, but memorizing the Periodic Table is hard.”

 “I think I have a way to help you. I’m going to build you a new table for your bedroom, and you can do your homework on it. I’m going to laminate a copy of the Periodic Table on top of it. So when people come into your room and ask you what’s up with your new desk you can say, ‘That’s my Periodic Table.’ Get it? It’s a Periodic Table-table.”

 “Dad, you’re so lame.”

 “Yeah, dads are lame. That’s what dads do. Now go ahead and move your Xbox into my bedroom and hook it up to my TV. I have some Nazi zombies that need killing, and you have some studying to do.”

Because of the Xbox, Rob’s son now knows that on the Periodic Table Xe stands for Xenon.


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Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

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