Johnny’s Failure — Part 7

Failure to Manage Time Properly

Photo by Jim LaBate

“It’s no wonder I can’t sleep with all this noise down here. What a racket! What’s going on?”

Johnny’s sudden appearance startled everyone. Johnny, too, was somewhat startled once he saw the policemen.

“Am I in trouble?” he asked.

“We love you, Johnny,” his mom said as she ran to him and gave him a big hug.

Johnny’s dad gave them a few seconds before he interrupted the hug to tell Johnny what was happening. “Johnny, we all know your academic situation is worse than you led us to believe; we know about the probation letter.” Then, pointing to the officers, he explained their presence. “This is Detective Frament and Officer Smith, and they’re trying to figure out how this could have happened.”

“Johnny,” the detective began, “we have a few ideas about what went wrong, but maybe you can fill in some of the details.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, here’s what we have so far.” Checking his notes, Detective Frament rattled off the following problems. “It looks like you failed your science course because you were late for class too often and had too many absences, and you failed your online Composition course because you failed to submit your work. It also looks like you rarely opened your textbooks to study or take notes, you rarely studied for tests, and you were unwilling to ask for help at school.”

“Wow!” Johnny said. “You guys really did your homework.”

“Homework?” The detective repeated. “We didn’t think that word was in your vocabulary.”

“Good one,” Johnny replied. “I deserve that. Is there anything else?”

“Actually, yes, there is. We also discovered that you’re not getting any exercise, and you’re drinking too much coffee and eating too many donuts.”

“Whoa, you guys are really amazing.”

“So, what do you have to say for yourself?”


“Pardon me?”

“I feel like the Guess Who.”

“Well, guess what? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Johnny’s dad jumped in to help. “‘The Guess Who’ is a Canadian band from the 60’s and 70’s. We listen to a lot of old rock and roll in our house.”

“So you’re saying,” Officer Frament responded, “that rock and roll is to blame for your son’s failure.”

“No, it’s all my fault,” Johnny finally admitted. Then, in a slow, mournful way, he sang the lyrics to the song from 1970. “I got . . . got . . . got . . . got . . . no time.”

“That’s a break-up song, Johnny!” Sally screamed. “Are you dumping me?”

“No, I’m not dumping you.” Johnny walked over to Sally and gave her a hug. “You’re the only sane thing in my life right now. But I gotta dump something. I got too many things to do and not enough time to do them: School. Friends. Work. Facebook. Television. That car. Parties. Working out — who am I kidding? I’m not even doing that any more, and that’s probably one of the things I should have kept. I can’t do it all?”

“Oh, my poor baby,” Johnny’s mom said as she joined Johnny and Sally in a group hug. “I tried to tell you.”

“You did, Mom, and I wouldn’t listen. I’m sorry.”

Everyone was silent for a few seconds until Officer Frament spoke up again.



“A while back, you said the Learning Centers at school helped with ‘all kinds of stuff.’ Do they offer any time-management workshops?”

“Oh, I’m sure they do.”

Officer Frament thought for a moment before he spoke. “Alright, Johnny. Here’s the way this is going to go down. I know for a fact that the wooden Indian at your house belongs to the cigar shop downtown, so I can arrest you for theft if I’d like. However, if you return that Indian to its rightful spot and owner by noon today, and if you sign up for and attend a time-management workshop during the first week of the spring semester, we’ll forget that all this ever happened. Do I have a deal?”

“Yes, sir.”

As Officer Frament motioned to Officer Smith and they prepared to leave, Frament spoke once more to the young student. “Oh, by the way, son, I have a song for you too.”

“Really? What’s that?”

“Johnny, . . . Be Good.”

Written by

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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