Tuesday, June 25, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on September 28th, 2011, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 12, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 12, Issue 30

The last minute

Procrastination can get you killed


A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine … unless you’re my kid and it’s regarding a school project, which means that I will be instantly thrown into complete and total panic mode. My kids have casually dropped the “project bomb” on me during more than one family dinner. Just yesterday, while slurping down some macaroni and cheese, my son completely blindsided me with an “I must have this done by tomorrow or I will fail high school” situation. The part about it that bothered me was that he never even brought it up. It sort of just “came up” in conversation.

The rest of his classmates had already checked out all of the library’s copies. Apparently their parents ate dinner earlier in the evening than we did.

“How was school today?”


“Learn anything today?”

“Yeah, I learned that I have a project that’s due tomorrow.”

“What? You just learned this today?!”

“Well … I was reminded today.”

“When did you get the assignment?”

“I dunno. Maybe a month ago.”

“What’s the assignment?”

“Um, I’m supposed to read a book, then, like, do a presentation or a report or something.”

“Don’t you think you should have gotten on that, like, two weeks ago? But obviously, you will be completing it tonight?”

“I guess. I don’t have the book I need. Can I watch Glee at 8 o’clock first?”

“At the rate you’re going, you may not live to see the opening credits of Glee.”

This new piece of information—the lack of the assigned book—sent my son and me on a citywide scavenger hunt to find the last remaining copy of The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. We hit the county library first, but the rest of his classmates had already checked out all of the library’s copies. Apparently their parents ate dinner earlier in the evening than we did. After striking out at the library, we headed to the bookstore. My personal Plan B was to go to Blockbuster and just rent the movie, but my wife, whom I love, refused to allow me to corrupt our son during his formative years.

The first bookstore we went to didn’t have any copies in stock, while bookstore No. 2 was already closed. Blockbuster was looking like a more plausible solution. The third time’s a charm, and the third store we went to had a single copy left. Twenty-five bucks plus tax later, we were on our way home so my son could read the entire book in one night and write some sort of report. We stopped at 7-11 and picked up some Red Bull.

Later that evening, my son informed me that our printer was out of ink. I would swear on my life there is a doomsday device in every personal printer that knows the worst possible time to “run out” of ink. This disaster sent me out to get to the office supply store before they closed to purchase printer ink, which cost me $45 for a printer I originally paid only $50 for. Once I got back from the store, my son informed me that he “just realized” that he is supposed to put together a presentation. He asked me if I had any poster board.

“Poster board? Hmmm, let me check my supply closet. Oh, it turns out I just ran out of poster board. I used my last piece 25 years ago when I was in grade school.”

“Are you being sarcastic?”

“Yes, I use sarcasm to show you my anger instead kicking you in the ass and getting arrested for child abuse. You made a mistake by procrastinating on your schoolwork, but I am the one suffering. No, I don’t have any poster board. Your dad isn’t a kindergarten teacher. I don’t keep a healthy stock of glue sticks, safety scissors, and glitter in the garage.”

“That reminds me, could you get me a glue stick with the poster board?”

It was getting late. Luckily for my son, Wal-Mart has long hours just for these ridiculous school project fire drills. I headed back out of the house and hauled butt to Wal-Mart to load up on all of the required supplies to ensure my son received a good grade in English. How hard is it to get an A in English class? He’s been speaking English his whole life. While I was in the school supply aisle, I saw another dad walking around looking angry near the colored markers section. I asked, “Mr. Blickenstaff’s English class project?”

The dad replied, “Yes. My daughter just informed me she had a project due tomorrow.”

The Old Man and the Sea?”


“Maybe I should give you my cell phone number. When your daughter tells you there’s a project due, could you send me a heads-up text?”

I came home, poster board and glue stick in hand, and I found my son had fallen asleep while reading chapter one of the book. I woke him up by dropping the supplies on the table.

“Wake up! You have work to do! What’re you going to draw on the poster board to represent The Old Man and the Sea?”

My son was groggy: “I don’t know … I was thinking maybe a picture of an old man, with like … the sea behind him?”

“Son, you and I are going to stay up all night if we have to so you can finish this project. Then you’re going to go to school tomorrow and turn in it on time. When you get home, then I’m going to end your life.”

Rob wants to thank all of the local businesses that stay open late. His son received an A on the project. Don’t worry; his son is still alive.

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