Put Down Those Books, Young Man

Posted: August 25, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , ,

buried in booksGreg flipped the page on his chemistry homework. Well, not homework. He’d finished that around 7:00. Now it was 9:00, and he was studying to get all of it into his head. Maria was on the phone with her friends, and his brother Phil was playing Call of Duty online. Greg was studying, like he always was. He was tough enough for excellence.

“What’cha doing?” Dad asked. Greg looked up. Dad looked like he just came from working out downstairs. He was wearing a hoodie and gym shorts, and holding a cup of water.

“Chemistry.” He turned the book toward him. “Organic. Hybrid bonds.”

“You’ve been working pretty hard lately.”

Mom was coming in from the living room. Greg put down his pen. Something was up. He yawned. “I guess. Something going on?”

He and Mom looked at each other. “All right,” Dad said. He sat down in the chair next to him. “We think you’re working too hard.”

Greg leaned in close. “What the fu… what? Are you kidding me?”

Mom said, “You pulled an all-nighter last week. In high school. Nobody should be pulling all-nighters in high school.”

Oh, was that all? Greg shook his head. “Not a big deal. I got behind on a paper, and I had to wrap it up. Maybe I drank too much coffee, but I’m all right now.”

“It’s not just that,” Dad said. “You’ve been sleeping six hours a night all year.”

“I’m getting straight A’s.”

“There’s more to life than work,” Mom said. “Having a girlfriend. Having friends.”

“What, you’re disappointed that I don’t have a girlfriend? I can’t relate. I’ve never had friends. You always told me to stay away from the other kids, that they were too rowdy.”

Dad rubbed his temples. “Dude, you’re becoming me. When I was your age, I couldn’t handle girls either. I couldn’t handle life. So I got straight A’s instead. Thing is, I had blinders on. Sooner or later it’ll hit you in the face. There are lots of things that you will never learn in a book. Maybe look at it that way. We want you to start learning from experience. Keep in touch with us, ask us questions, but start learning outside the classroom.”

Greg didn’t know whether to yell hallelujah or yell at them. Getting good grades was all he was good at. He was two years away from Harvard or MIT. Now they wanted him to settle. He didn’t mind not working, but this was going to mess everything up.

Mom said, “You need to learn to take care of yourself. You can’t just drive yourself into the ground.”

“I’m tough enough. I can do it.”

Dad sighed. “No. You can’t. Not forever. Sooner or later, you will reach a mountain that’s too steep for you to climb. We’re stopping this carnival ride. From now on, your bed time during the week is 10:00.”

“My grades’ll drop. Kiss Harvard goodbye.”

“I’ll put on lipstick and kiss it myself,” Mom said.

Greg shoved back his chair. He looked at both of them. He was more scared now than he’d ever been. Climbing a mountain was one thing. Walking into the unknown? Now that was scary.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “effort” from The Daily Post at WordPress.com.

  1. very nice take on that prompt!


  2. […] Put down those books, young man | The Daily 400 […]


  3. […] Put down those books, young man | The Daily 400 […]


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