Johnny’s Failure — Part 4

Failure to Study for Tests

Photo by Jim LaBate

As the police prepared to dismiss the boys and leave the house, they all heard the loud rumble of a garage door opening. Then, a gray Buick pulled in and parked in the double garage next to the rebuilt Corvette. “That’s gotta be Johnny’s parents,” said Yogi.

Johnny’s mother came through the garage door into the kitchen: “What’s going on? Is everything okay? Where’s Johnny?”

Johnny’s dad followed without a word but with a perplexed look, a look that said “Please tell me that nobody’s hurt.”

The detective had been through similar situations before, so he took over immediately. “I’m Detective Frament, and we have no reason to believe that Johnny’s hurt physically, but academically, we know he’s in trouble.”

“I knew it,” his mother said. “If only he’d listen to me.”

“What seems to be the problem?” Johnny’s dad asked.

“Looks like the classic case of first-semester blues,” said the detective. “If Johnny doesn’t buckle down during the spring semester, his college days may be over.”

“I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.” Johnny’s mom spoke again.

“What do you mean, Ma’am?”

“School has always been too easy for Johnny. He never studied in high school, and he got straight A’s. I tried to tell him that college would be different, that he’d have to study two hours for every hour he spent in class, but he’d never listen.”

“Excuse me, Ma’am, but Johnny’s friend Yogi claims that Johnny studied every night, beginning at midnight.”

“Oh, sure, Johnny pulled out a book every night, but he also turned on ESPN and spent time on Facebook. He claimed he was ‘multi-tasking.’ I say he was ‘multi goofing off.’”

“What about you, sir? Did you ever see your son studying?”

“The only subject he really seemed interested in was history, but even so, he didn’t study in the traditional sense.”

“What do you mean?”

“Johnny’s a pretty visual guy, so instead of reading, he’d much rather watch a movie or a documentary about an event. He’s always watching The History Channel, for example, but, like his mom said, even then, he was always doing two or three other things: surfing the internet, talking on his cell phone, looking at repair manuals for that Corvette.”

Just then, the house phone rang, and Johnny’s mom rushed to answer it.

“Johnny, is that you?”

Everyone in the room — Detective Frament and the policemen, Johnny’s buddies, and Johnny’s dad — tried to hear the words on the phone line or tried to read Johnny’s mother’s face.

“Well, thank God, he’s okay! We’ll be right over.” When she hung up, she relayed the news to everyone. “That was Sally, Johnny’s girlfriend. He’s over at her house. Let‘s go.”

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Jim LaBate works as a writing specialist in The Writing Center at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy, New York.

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