Johnny’s Failure — Part 5

Failure to Ask for Help

Photo by Jim LaBate

Detective Frament dismissed the three amigos, but not until he had their contact information just in case he had any follow-up questions. Then, he also dismissed Officers Brooks and Welch and ordered Officer Smith to accompany him to Sally’s house.

Frament and Smith followed Johnny’s parents as they made the ten-minute drive through town to a tree-lined neighborhood full of small Cape-Cod style homes. Sally looked out the window, anxiously awaiting their arrival, and she opened the front door before they had a chance to knock or ring the bell.

“Where’s my little boy?” Johnny’s mom asked as she entered the living room. “You said he’s okay, right?”

“He’s fine. He’s upstairs sleeping,” Sally replied. “He went to bed real late last night.”

“Was he drinking?” His father asked.

“No. He told me that he was the designated driver for Tony, Yogi, and Sam, and that he left them all at his house.” Then, Sally asked a question of her own. “Why are the police here? Did one of those bozos do something stupid? Whatever it was, I’m sure Johnny wasn’t involved.”

“Sally, I’m Detective Frament, and we’re just trying to find out why Johnny did so poorly on his grades for the fall semester. Can you tell us anything?”

“That’s easy. He’s a stubborn mule.”

“What do you mean?”

“He won’t ask for help, even when he’s desperate.”

“Can you give me an example?”

“Sure. Last night, after he arrived, we went out for some food, and he couldn’t find the new sub shop that he said just opened over near the mall. Without being a total nag, I tried to convince him to stop at the convenience store for directions, but he was determined to find it on his own.”

“And did he?”

“Yes, he did, finally, but we spent 45 minutes driving in circles.”

“But Sam said Johnny took his computer advice for an online course.”

“Sam did that on his own; Johnny would never have asked for help. I tried to get Johnny to go to the LAC for math help, but he wouldn’t listen, and he wouldn’t let me drag him down there.”

“What’s the LAC?”

“That’s the Learning Assistance Center. It’s located in the library and is part of the Learning Centers on campus. They have teachers to help students with math, writing, study skills, all kinds of stuff. Believe me, I wouldn’t have gotten through algebra if it weren’t for that crazy math lady.”

“Do they charge a fee for their help?”

“No. They help anybody and everybody. They’re amazing.”

“And Johnny wouldn’t go there?”

“No, he’s too cool to admit he doesn’t know something. He’s cool alright; his grade on his math final was freezing.”

“Freezing? What do you mean?”

“It was below 32.”

“You sound annoyed with him.”

“I am. I love that boy, always have, but he drives me crazy. He’ll never get through college if he doesn’t change his ways.”

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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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