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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)

TITLE: OR ELSE
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
02/17/11


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Eating the last bite of his sandwich, Michael carelessly tossed his plate on the coffee table. Dad cleared his throat, “How’s that job search going? You only have one more week on that deadline we gave you.”

His son rolled his eyes, “You and Mom’ve been after me since I graduated high school; what’s the big deal? “

“We told you it’s up to you ; full-time college, full-time job or move out. You can still sign up for classes at the local college. You have one more week to decide. I get home from the conference Saturday night, then we’ll all talk about your decision. You’re a man now, time you start acting like one.“

That night, Mom sat on the couch next to Michael, “I thought it might help if we talked every night. Tell me what you’re thinking; sometimes it's easier to decide if you talk your options out.”

Squirming, Michael picked up the remote and clicked off the TV. “I was watching America’s Funniest Videos, you know people can get rich by taping idiots doing dumb things. I bet I could get a video camera and just go out and tape. Plus there’s the viral video thing on the internet. I could get famous and hardly have to leave the house.” He glanced sideways at Mom and grinned roguishly. She slapped his leg, squinted her eyes, and raised her right eyebrow. That was enough to wipe the smile off his face as he sat up straight.

“Uh, maybe I could work as a volunteer; I hear Extreme Home Makeover is having a casting call in Buffalo.”

Mom leaned over and hugged him. “Even better, Pastor Jamie is looking for volunteers for a family that needs a new roof. You call him tomorrow and sign up.” She kissed him and headed to the bedroom, “But we still expect a career choice by Saturday.”

Flopping back, he clicked the TV on. Every night they talked about his future, as the week continued, Michael seemed animated.

On Saturday, Michael’s heart pounded as he waited for the big talk. Mom plopped on the couch next to her youngest. She brushed the hair out of his eyes. “How did you grow up so fast?”

Michael scooted over and put his head on Mom’s shoulder, “I’ll stay here -- just for you.”

With picture-perfect timing, Dad walked into the room, “No way!”

“Honey, Michael has gotten serious this week. He’s checked out some great ideas; maybe we can extend the deadline.”

Shaking his head, Dad looked at the two of them. “I’ll make a deal; last night I got stuck watching Medium. I think all that psychic mumbo-jumbo has rubbed off on me.”

Mom pushed Michael's arm, “He was thinking about getting a job with the DA.”

Blushing, Michael buried his face into his hands. Dad chuckled, “I’ll make you a deal, if I can predict every potential career choice you’ve talked about this week, you can have your extra time.” Mom smiled, however Michael groaned. “If I’m wrong; first-thing on Monday, Michael registers for a full-time schedule. Deal?“ Dad and Michael shook hands.

“I know about the video idea on Sunday, but I’m seeing a career as a doctor on Monday.”

Michael glared at Mom, she threw her hands up, “I didn’t say a word.’’

Dad coughed, “On Tuesday, it was the Marines. But by Wednesday you had your sights set a bit higher -- the FBI would be a prestigious choice. However, on Thursday you realized all of the physical training the military would entail; so you switched to science. But you had all day to remember you despised chemistry. On Friday night, you were feeling desperate and even considered being a nanny. After your friends laughed at that idea, you decided tonight that you’d become a cop.” Both Mom and Michael sat motionless with their mouths hanging open. Dad handed Michael the college paperwork, “You’ve an appointment on Monday to register for basic classes. You might want to look into the communications program, I think it fits you.”

Later Mom smiled, “He was choosing based on the TV, right?”

Dad laughed, “I checked the DVR; Monday was House, Tuesday -- NCIS, then Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, and Friday, after Medium, you forced him to watch Super-Nanny. He ended with Cops. Thankfully, you banned Teen Moms. But he’s going to college; and I get my beautiful wife all to myself.”


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This article has been read 419 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 02/18/11
A great profile on the perils of adultescence. Loved the life, the twists and the humour - and the reality (and not reality TV!) Very well-done.
Edmond Ng 02/21/11
An interesting read. Media influence does not help much when it comes to making decisions without prior experience. There are certainly times when it may be better for someone else to make a decision for us, but our future, its success or failure, very much depends on what we choose. May we learn to choose God to help us make wise decisions and not rely on "taping idiots doing dumb things" to get rich! LOL.
Helen Curtis02/21/11
Great story! It is spot on, we do get influenced by the unrealistic portayals of tv life. Very humourous.
Catrina Bradley 02/21/11
Nice! And that's why kids (and some adults) need strong parents - they are so easily swayed. A great read.
Henry Clemmons02/22/11
Ha! I liked this. Took a while to get going, but glad I stuck around. What a great finish. Very original and so right on the mark. Now, how did you know when all of those shows were on?
Great job.
Lollie Hofer 02/22/11
I roared when you revealed how the Dad knew his son's career choices for the week. I was waiting for him to whip out a tape recorder or wire tap or something more sneakier. Good one, quite entertaining. Great parenting by the dad as well.
Rachel Phelps02/23/11
Love the revelation at the end! I was starting to pick up on it as it went on, but what a fun read! Great idea for this topic.
Leola Ogle 02/24/11
An excellent piece. Cleverly written, wonderful dialog, and so true to life. Getting those kids to move out is a chore...you did it with humor and practical insight - and showing how much TV influences our lives. :)