Foreshadowing Failure; a Moral Tale

“There’s nothing to it. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

“Nothing to it? If there’s nothing to it, why do I always get Cs?”
“You’re afraid, that’s why. And you’re lazy. If you just started sooner and gave yourself time to perfect your work, you’d be fine. But you don’t. You let fear interfere — ha ha — interfear…”
“I hate your stupid puns.”
“Whatever. Just write it.”
“It’s easy for you.”
“Yeah, it’s easy for me, basically because I just fucking do it.”
“You’re always finished way before I even start!” She breaks into tears. “I really hate this. Every weekend a paper. EVERY single weekend! Doesn’t she realize we’re young and have LIVES not like HER.”
“That’s a decision you make. It’s got nothing to do with her or me. You’ve known about this for two weeks. It’s not her fault or my fault that it’s due tomorrow and you haven’t even started.”
“I hate you.”
“Whatever. Going to play soccer with the guys.”

And so she sat down at her laptop. Facebook called her incessantly. Her phone — turned on and running — sent her dozens of texts and updates from her friends, really important things like, “Dude, I just farted!” “Look at these carrot muffins I just made!” “Here’s a picture of my cat sleeping!” The afternoon wore on. Dusk fell. Lamont returned home, cut up, grass-stained and happy.

“How’d it go, sweet cheeks?”
“I don’t have any ideas. I didn’t get anywhere. I ended up really busy! How can she expect us to write three papers in a four-month semester! Maybe in her day people had nothing better to do but today? We’re a LOT busier!”
“I’m not. I go to school, work part time, play on a soccer team, but I got my paper done. It’s you, babe. I’m sorry but it is. Maybe you shouldn’t be in school.”
“It’s these stupid GEs. Who cares about a thesis statement, anyway?”
“Tell yourself whatever you want, but you know what? I’m sick of this. Every weekend is the same thing. We never do anything together anymore because you leave your homework until the last possible minute. Then there’s all this drama just over a stupid-ass paper for English and all you have to do is write it — but you spend a million hours bitching about it rather than writing it. I’m moving out. Then you’ll have time to do your homework.”
“You’re breaking up with me?”
“Yeah. I can’t put up with this any more.”
“But we were talking about getting married!!!!”
“I know and I’m sorry but you know what? What if we have kids? You can’t put off changing the baby’s diapers, right?”
“That’s different!”
“What if they need help with their homework? You won’t be any help. Sorry babe. Going to move in with Larry.” He picked up his soccer bag, shoved his clothes into it. His school bag was already in his truck. “See you at school!” he said as he slammed the door.

Without a moment’s hesitation, she grabbed her phone and updated her status to single, Tweeted her broken heart, posted her suffering, Instagramed her unfinished paper, sending bits and bytes of pain into a world already choked with suffering.

19 thoughts on “Foreshadowing Failure; a Moral Tale

  1. Reblogged this on Language, Learning & Life and commented:
    Our priorities create our lives. Where we go, how we get there and if we go at all are all determined by the choices we make each and every day, every hour and minute by minute.

    Perhaps if we were to get the same sort of wake-up call as is found in this short post, we too might give more weight to our daily decisions.

    Martha Kennedy is not only a writer, she is also a teacher. See if you can find someone you know in the following story.

    • Thank you for reblogging this! This is really the story of many of the people in my classrooms. Even though I have a no-phone policy in my classroom it doesn’t stop them. The urge to be updated is almost a reflex these days and everything I wrote in this post is based on real events. It’s NOT fiction.

      • After the major bookstore chain where I was assistant manager closed our doors during the summer of 2003, I returned to school, graduating with an associate’s degree twenty years after graduating from high school. Amongst my former co-workers, two are now full-time teachers, one works for a university and the former manager now substitute teaches as she is considered “too old” to hire full-time because they “are looking for someone who will be here for another thirty years.” Believe me, between what I have seen for myself and the stories they tell, I know exactly what you are talking about here.

        I see the broader picture here too. We all have choices to make each and every day. We have choices to make every moment. I don’t “need” to blog or even write every day, but it is something that is important to me; I miss it when I don’t write (although I haven’t been posting any of it lately!). I see a generation of young people who are so busy updating their social networking sites that they don’t know what they like. Everyone wants to be liked but the current status quo seems to be to remain so tightly tethered to your friends that you never get the opportunity to live your life. It doesn’t need to be that way. Those who get ahead choose to prioritize their lives in a manner that allows them to “play ball” rather than simply tweet about it.

        And YES, YOU DO HAVE TIME, no matter what you want to do. Make it a priority to get good grades and you will. No matter if you want to learn to cook, dance, sing, play the accordion or learn another language, you do have the time. “Just do it” isn’t just a great slogan, it’s the best life advice you can get.

        • I know. I tell them every single day. When I was in college we got to class early, read up on what was going on that day or talked to each other. NOW my students come in silently, sit down and look at their phones. They don’t interact at all. For every class I provide very detailed information about how I will grade their work (something I never had when I was in school) and still in my evals I get “Her grading is vague. I had no idea how she came up with my grades.” I have all I can do to control myself sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • One of those former co-workers is not only a teacher but a physics professor. Reading some of the interactions between her and her colleagues on Facebook is nothing short of tragicomedy. For instance the student who approached her prior to summer semester….it would seem that his entire schedule was set but for the fact that her class was at a time which interfered with a different class he was taking. Could she change the class meeting days and times to accommodate him?
            My friend had her own control issues around that time..:-)

            • Yep… I’ve had students want me to change the class meeting time and I’ve had students say, “Since this isn’t a very important class, could I just take your class once a week so I can take this other class the other two days?” I just say, “Sure. Good idea.” Knowing the computer WON’T let them! Then, if they tell me that later, I’ve actually said, “That’s incredible. So the computer won’t let you be two places at once?” ๐Ÿ˜€

            • I’m not sure if the student in question was taking her for physics or astrophysics but I suggested that she didn’t want him anyway. If he were to take an astro class she might never be free of him. He would have to keep taking the class over and over again, trying to figure out how to confirm his hypothesis that the universe DOES indeed revolve around him… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Don’t be. It annoyed the hell outta me. Still does, actually…

        I don’t understand people who put EVERYTHING on Facebook.

        • Youโ€™re really tempting me here to say things like โ€œwhateverโ€ and โ€œFineโ€ (just to be funny). ๐Ÿ™‚ I think people who put everything on FB are unsure of their actual existence and need to see it online to know they are really here. But then by putting everything on Facebook instead of living life theyโ€™re not really here so itโ€™s a hopeless pairodogs.

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