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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mini Extortionist or Major Player?

Mini Extortionist or Major Player?

Yesterday I had a lunch date with a wonderful friend. I was a little early, so while I waited, I sat in my van and thought I'd spend the time making a list to map out the rest of my day. I looked around in my mobile junk room for something to write on, (Hey, three teenagers. What would you call it?) and noticed a green spiral notebook on the floor. My first thought was; "CRAP! Bryson forgot his homework!" Oh well, I figure if he really needed it, he would have called by now. So I pick up the notebook and casually flip through it to find a blank page to make my list.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking; "Sure Pua, you make it look and sound like a casual flip-through. But really, we know you're looking for the secrets of a high school freshman." Ok, ok. I'll admit that after the first couple of pages, which were simple homework notes, I forgot what my objective was for picking up the notebook in the first place. It was like a black hole, sucking me in. I couldn't stop flipping pages. Did I feel guilty? Not in the least. There wasn't anyting on it saying "KEEP OUT" or "PRIVATE" or "FOR BRYSON ONLY". Why should I feel guilty? I'm just looking for a piece of writing paper, she said, batting her eyelashes innocently.

After the first couple of pages, there was a page of back and forth scribble notes between Bryson and a girl. Silly, typical stuff. Nothing to get excited over. Who's taking Who to the Winter Formal...blah, blah, blah. But then came "The Page". The heading at the top of the paper read "LTR: Lunch Ticket Rules". As I read on, it was what appeared to be a contract, in my son's lousy handwriting, as to the usage of another student's free lunch pass.

Now let me just explain something here. The Grommet struggles a little bit in the grades department. ALL of his teachers tell us that he's bright, intelligent, articulate, charming, capable, and LAZY. The smarts are there, but he's got them resting on a LA-Z-BOY recliner. We've worked with him, pleaded with him, bribed him. We know what he's capable of. It's just not real important to him. If it's not sports related, he'll give it only minimal effort...just enough to scrape by so that he can continue to play waterpolo or hockey. So, why is this important. Let's get back to the "LTR", shall we?

So I'm looking at this contract of sorts. In it, Bryson has methodically listed the rules for using this lunch pass. Mind you, he's even used legalese. I'm reading things like:

"The aforementioned party, henceforth to be known as Bryson (B) shall be allowed to use the lunch ticket on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The second party, henceforth to be known as Chris (C) shall be allowed to use the lunch ticket on Tuesday and Thursday. This schedule will then switch every other week. EX: The following week after this schedule, (C) shall have the ticket on M, W, F, and (B) will have the ticket T, TH.

If the owner of the ticket, henceforth to be known as Olivia (O), wishes to use the ticket, the first or second party must surrender the ticket upon demand and they lose their day. The schedule will remain for the following day.

If the first or second party is absent from school on their scheduled lunch pass day, they forfeit and the present party may use the lunch pass. The present party may also use it on the following day, as regularly scheduled and the absent party loses that day."

At the bottom of the page are three signature lines marked (B), (C), and (O). As I sit there reading this, I begin to laugh. My son is a little player! A mini extortionist of sorts. No, he's not browbeating anyone or using bullyish force. I'm quite sure that he charmed little Olivia out of her lunch ticket. I probably should be appalled. I probably should be shocked. But right now, all I can do is chuckle. That little scheisse. He's working the system.

My friend arrives for our lunch date, and so I quickly jot a little note at the top of the page; "So Grommet~What's this about?" I dog-ear the page, close the notebook, and go in and enjoy my time with my friend. Later that afternoon, when I get home, I walk over to Bryson with the notebook opened to the page and show it to him. He starts to smile a smirky kind of smile and gives me a Vinne Barbarino-ish "WHUT?" I continue to cross-examine:

Me: Bryson. What's the deal with this little LTR contract?

He: *smiling* It's nothing. My friend Olivia doesn't use the Lunch Pass because her dad gives her money everyday.

Me: So, no one is missing out on their lunch because of this?

He: No. She WANTED me to have it. She likes me.

Me: And this is why you haven't been taking lunch lately?

He: Yup.

Me: You don't feel in the least bit bad for using her lunch pass?

He: No. In fact, I told her she didn't need to do that. She said if we didn't use it, she'd let someone else have it.

Me: *sigh* Who's Chris?

He: This guy in my class. Olivia likes him too. That's why I made the rules.

Me: *chuckling* Well, you know what they say...the way to a man's heart...

He: *blank stare*

Me: Yeah, well. Anyway. Bry, if you put as much thought and effort into your schoolwork as you did into writing this "contract", you'd be an honor student. You know that don't you?

He: What's for dinner?

Me: I dunno. Got a pass?


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