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Real Stories with Humorous Perspective

S’more Homework

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 02:01:09 PM

TRAGEDY OF THE WEEK – September 18, 2011

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S’more Homework

“I had a terrible day!” Lanie exclaimed as she burst through the front door after school. She was mad.

“What is the matter?” I asked.

“This,” she said, and she showed me a Science paper with the grade of a C+. I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with this grade, but it wasn’t like Lanie to get a C+. I figured maybe it was a particularly difficult assignment.

“Did you have a problem with the assignment?” I questioned, wondering what could have happened.

“Yeah, I had a problem, and it’s name was Michael,” she hissed as her little, red cheeks puffed like she was about to spit venom. “I hate him! Boys are so stupid.”

“Oh, honey, that’s not very nice.”

“So!” she shrugged. “Michael isn’t very nice either.”

“Well, maybe that’s why you got paired with him. You are a really nice girl so maybe the teacher thought that you would be able to work with him,” I said hoping that by complimenting her I could distract her out of her  bad mood.

“I don’t want to be a nice girl if it means I have to work with stupid Michael. He just sits there and does nothing. He never helps me with any of the projects. He can’t do anything,” she emoted dramatically, as her body went limp, and she collapsed into a chair.

“Oh, come on, now, Lanie, I’m sure Michael could have helped you with something.”

“Oh, yes, you’re right, Mom. He did help me,” she said as she placed her hands on her hips for emphasis. “He helped eat all the marshmallows.”

“ Marshmallows?”

“UGH! You’re not even listening to me!”

“I am listening, Lanie, but you haven’t said anything about marshmallows. I don’t have any idea what you are talking about.”

“The marshmallows, Mom, THE MARSHMALLOWS! The ones for our project that I told you about a week ago.”

“I’m sorry, Lanie, I really don’t remember. Why don’t you start at the beginning,” I said as I tried to make my apology sound sincere, but truthfully, I found her dramatics and expectations of my memory to be a little annoying.

“Oh, fine,” she sighed as she collapsed her shoulders with the theatrical flair of an expert drama queen.

“Last week we had to design a structure out of marshmallows and toothpicks that would support a cup of marbles, and Michael ate all of the marshmallows.”

“Why would he do that?”

“I don’t know!” she yelled.

“Well, honey, didn’t you notice that Michael was eating all of the marshmallows while you were working together? Why didn’t you say anything to him?”

“Oh, great, so this is all my fault now?” she said throwing up her hands. “Just forget it, Mom, forget it.’

“Lanie, I’m not blaming you, but you could have spoken up and told Michael to stop.”

“I shouldn’t have to! Mrs. Norton told each team that we would get just fifteen marshmallows and as many toothpicks as we wanted to construct something to support the weight of the marbles. She said that the marshmallows were not for eating, and that if any team decided to eat their marshmallows, they would not get anymore. She also told everyone that they were old marshmallows from the previous year so they were stale.”

“Michael ate year-old marshmallows? That’s gross. Why would he do that?”

“How should I know, Mom! Probably because he is a boy so he’s an idiot.”

“Lanie stop.”

“I can’t stop. I’m too mad.”

“Well, how many stale marshmallows did Michael eat?”

“He ate, like, ten of them.”

“And you had to make a structure with just five marshmallows?’

“Well, yeah, but I knew it was, like, going to be impossible.”

“Did you talk to Mrs. Norton and tell her what Michael did?”

“I tried to, but she said ‘no exceptions.’ She said it was my responsibility as a member of the team to make sure that my classmate followed all of the rules. ‘No exceptions, Lanie,’ she said. And then she said, ‘What were you doing while all these marshmallows were being consumed?’”

“Well, what were you doing?”

“Oh, so you’re blaming me too. This is so unfair!” she concluded in a huff of anger.

“I’m not blaming you. I’m just trying to understand what was going on at the time,” I said, trying to sooth her irritation a little.

“I was doing what we were supposed to be doing. I was drawing in my notebook and designing our structure. I made this really cool plan for how to build the supports for the cup using fourteen marshmallows and a bunch of the toothpicks. Michael had his head down so I thought that he was drawing a plan too, and then I thought we were going to try to combine our ideas. I didn’t know he was eating all the marshmallows. I didn’t notice. I was trying really hard not to have to look at him at all.”

“So Michael ate all of the marshmallows?”

“Well, pretty much,” she shrugged, “and he might as well have eaten them all because you can’t do anything with five marshmallows.”

“So, Mrs. Norton said that she wouldn’t give you any more marshmallows even after you told her what Michael did?”

“Yeah. She said, ‘Well, that will be part of your team’s challenge now won’t it?’” Lanie said again, sternly, with a furrowed brow, attempting to imitate her teacher.

“So what happened?”

“By the time I got back to my table after talking to Mrs. Norton, Michael had eaten another marshmallow.”

“Seriously?” I questioned, trying unsuccessfully to stifle my laughing.

“Mom, it isn’t funny.”

“I’m sorry, but don’t you think it’s kind of funny?” I asked smiling, hoping to get her to see the lighter side to this situation. She really needed to relax a little.

“No,” Lanie said flatly, but I could see a small hint of amusement in her angry eyes. She quickly dismissed any fleeting thoughts of humor and quickly added, “Actually, Mom, I think Michael is totally disgusting. Those marshmallows are from last year. He is weird and gross.”

“Did you ask him why he ate all the marshmallows?”

“No, I don’t care why,” she said wrinkling up her face in obvious disgust and scrunching up her shoulders. “He’s just an idiot, so I yelled at him and said ‘What the heck am I suppose to do now?’ and then he got all mad at me and said, ‘Who cares! Just shut up, Lanie. Give me some toothpicks, I’ll do it.’ And then he grabbed everything and just randomly shoved all of our toothpicks into the four marshmallows that were left. Our structure looked like someone had just run over a porcupine. It was so stupid. I tried to fix it by straightening out some of the toothpicks, but then Mrs. Norton told us that our time was up.”

“What did she say when she saw it?”

“What do you think she said, Mom? Obviously, she couldn’t say anything good. Our structure was the worst one in the whole class. She just said ‘Hmmmm…given what you two had to work with here, I would say that at least you made an effort,’ and then when we actually had to balance the cup of marbles on the structure, and it balanced for about half a second, she said, ‘Well, it held up for longer than I would have thought.”

“I’m sorry, honey. Sounds like you had kind of a rough day. Maybe if you talk to her about how hard it is for you to work with Michael, she will switch you.”

“Yeah, I guess, but I doubt any of the other boys are any better. I bet Kelly and I could make something good, but she says the girls get too chatty when they work together, and the boys get too silly if they work together, so I’m still going to have to work with some other stupid boy anyway. I hate Science class.

“Maybe she’d let you work alone.”

“I don’t know, but I doubt it,” she said, finally sounding defeated, but at least calm.

“Well, what about your grade? Did you ask Mrs. Norton if you could improve your grade somehow?”

“Yeah, she just gave me an extra homework assignment.”

“She gave you some more work to do?” I questioned a little mischievously.

“Yeah, she just gave me some more,” Lanie said with some confusion because she knew I was thinking, but she didn’t know why I had such a goofy look on my face.

“Some more?” I said smiling, and emphasizing my words so that she would get it, but she was serious, and just getting angry with me.

“Yeah, I just said that, Mom!” she yelled.

“Some more work? Some more? Some more? S’more?

“Yes, some more, some more, some more!” she repeated, still not getting my little joke.

“S’more work? Get it? Don’t you think that’s kind of funny? You know, marshmallows…s’more work…get it?” I said giggling.

“That’s not funny, Mom,” she said, rolling her eyes and shaking her head as she took her backpack and left the kitchen in disgust.

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