It is no great revelation to anyone who has ever been one that the organism known as teenager is devoted to the practice of doing as little as possible.
What cannot be appreciated until you are living with one is the amount of effort a teenager will expend in pursuit of this goal. You have no idea how little is possible until you have watched a teenager not doing it.
The Zen-like focus with which a 15-year-old accomplishes nothing outside the sphere of its own self-interest is so well-honed as to very nearly redefine the concept of nothing. It is the mastery of nothing; the curving of time and space in such a way as to enable the teenager to not complete an infinite number of tasks simultaneously.
The boy on the couch is not only not taking out the trash. He is also not picking up his wet towels, not putting his laundry away, not taking his shoes off the table, not moving his dirty plate and glass to the dishwasher, not picking up the wrappers he threw behind the couch and not vacuuming the peanut shells littering the carpet just below his hand. Did he see your note about not eating in the living room? That note does not even exist for him.
Tomorrow he will not remember the orthodontist appointment you taped to his door, texted to his phone and mentioned twice in the car. Say whatever you want. He is not even listening.
When he speaks it is to deny having done anything - "It wasn't me" - or to suggest a state of indefinitely suspended action - "I will." He won't.
Whether this is a feat of mathematics, philosophy or something like the energy web in The Matrix, I cannot say. The only part of that movie that ever holds my attention isn't really on point.
Dearest SK: I am the Oracle. Listen to me. The energy that flows through the universe has a way of filling the void of nothing and of righting all wrongs. He will marry a cute little quiet type. She will be full of hope and prospect. Only she will soon learn somewhere between the “I do’s” and the first load of trash to be taken to the street that she married the master of nothing. This once quiet and hopeful girl will transform overnight into a passive-aggressive, stay-on-his-rear-end-type with a tiger-like fierceness and she will nag the ever loving snot out of him. He will call his mother. The daughter-in-law will even ransom sex for favor. She will hate you at first and blame you for his shortcomings until the day you privately have coffee with her in the kitchen and where you will open a box containing all the post-it notes left on doors, refrigerators and bathroom mirrors reminding him of his chores. You shall say, “Trinity my dear, you know what you must do.” He will come home and find all those notes placed back in their rightful places on doors, refrigerators and mirrors. On the kitchen table he will find his dinner - a single can of unopened tuna and a fork. And she will say, “It’s isn’t like you weren’t warned.” The End
Posted by: Audubon Ron | December 17, 2010 at 06:29 AM
This was beautiful. It made me weep.
I'm going to suggest to my 17-year-old that he read it, if only so he can NOT read it, and thus not do one more thing.
Posted by: Robert Kuntz | December 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM
I am weeping for my future.
Posted by: Mr Lady | December 17, 2010 at 12:55 PM
There is nothing to be done about it.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | December 17, 2010 at 03:38 PM
All I can say is "nothing lasts."
Posted by: nthnglsts | December 19, 2010 at 02:09 PM
Almost nothing. I'm pretty sure the stains will be with us forever.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | December 19, 2010 at 04:09 PM
One can only hope for future retribution in old age.
That's my plan anyway.
Posted by: eurolush | December 20, 2010 at 07:51 AM