Johnny’s Failure — Part 6

Failure to Exercise and Get Enough Rest

Photo by Jim LaBate

Officer Smith broke the ensuing silence by speaking directly to Detective Frament.

“Do you want me to wake up Johnny for questioning?”

“Not just yet.” Then, noticing a ring of keys on the coffee table near the television remote, he asked Sally, “Are these Johnny’s keys?”


Since the key ring also included small, rectangular scan cards for the local health club and Dunkin’ Donuts, Detective Frament began searching in another direction. To Johnny’s parents he asked, “Do you mind if we run a check on these cards?”

“If you think it will help, go ahead.”

“Smitty, call both of these places and give them Johnny’s numbers; find out how often he visits the gym and how much he spends on donuts and coffee.” To the others, Frament asked: “Is Johnny an athlete?”

“Oh My God, he’s a phenomenal athlete,” his mother bragged. “In high school, he was the quarterback in football, the point guard in basketball, and the shortstop in baseball. He even had a few scholarship offers.”

“Is he still playing ball?”

“No,” his dad chimed in dejectedly. “He said he was ‘burned out’ and needed a break. He thought a year without sports at a community college would help him to figure out what he really wanted, both academically and athletically.”

“And how is the athletic part of that working out?”

“I don’t think it’s working out very well,” Sally added “because I don’t think he’s working out at all. He’s got love handles he didn’t have before, and he gets winded just going up a few flights of stairs at school. I think I’m in better shape now than he is.”

“I don’t think he’s getting much sleep either,” Johnny’s mom piped in. “Like I said before, he’s always up late with the TV, the computer, his cell phone. These kids today, they have too many distractions if you ask me. Why when I was in school — ”

Johnny’s mom rambled on for a few minutes, but fortunately for everyone, Officer Smith returned soon with his report.

“What’d they have to say, Smitty?”

“Well, he was working out quite a bit in September and early October, but, then, he began slacking off, and he hasn’t been there at all since the end of November.”

“And what about Dunkin Donuts?”

“Almost the direct opposite. Very few visits in September and October, but he’s been there practically every day for the last three months.”

“And do the records tell you what he’s buying?”

“The records don’t, but the kid who worked there said he knows Johnny, and that he usually buys a big coffee and two cream-filled donuts whenever he comes in.”

“That might explain the weight gain and his inability to sleep.”

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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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