The Abstinator

April 22, 2008

(Authors note: I actually wrote this story a long time ago for a Mormon-themed website I used to run. I thought I had re-posted it here already but can’t seem to find it. It’s kinda fun.)

I have always been something of an absent-minded procrastinator. I thought maybe I could make up a new word for this malady. I started with “Abstinator”. Then I realized that only sounds like a heroic virgin. Anyway, linguistically and practically, it’s a terrible combination of traits because not only do I put tasks off for awhile, I forget about them completely. This might have made for a rather poor showing academically. Thankfully my test grades were always high enough that I could compensate for my complete lack of productivity when it came to homework and other assignments. There was one time though, in junior high, that my abstination(TM). Cost me some major coolness points (this was especially unfortunate because my coolness budget was already operating at a deficit and I was throwing away lots of points every time we played dodgeball).

So at my junior high, everyone was required to take one semester of Life Science. This class is where I learned several important lessons like: 1. The class pet, a rosy boa, will bite you if you put your hand inside the terrarium with a mouse. The historical precedent of his having never bitten a student before is irrelevant to the boa. 2. Jason Feldman had a crush on Kim Beltran 3. Part of the seventh grade Life Science curriculum is reviewing procreation.

(side note: I am unsure as to why they added the “pro” into “procreation”. Is it like pro-life?

“You sir, what do you think about the act of creation? Oh I’m totally pro-creation!!”

Alternatively it may be short for “professional” although in comparison with say, rabbits, fish and  honeybees, I would have to argue that humans are definitely not pro-creators… no, we are amateurs indeed… and in deed. )

Parental permission was required to be allowed to sit in class during this week-long lesson. My parents had no problem with it but I, the abstinator, could never remember to have them sign the permission slip. Consequently I spent Monday in the library shelving books. Tuesday I spent in the teacher’s office grading quizzes. Wednesday I was sent out to the back patio with a lame assignment to work on.

I worked on it for about five minutes and then wandered over to the small pond filled with goldfish, algae, and reeds. I plucked a reed from the murky water and began pestering the fish. I poked and prodded for a couple minutes and then turned to find something else to play with.

I don’t know how it happened really. I never lost my balance. I don’t even recall taking a step in any direction besides rotating slightly. Suddenly there was nothing under my back foot and with a yelp I was chest deep in pond water. I climbed out immediately, dripping wet from head to toe from the splash.

Stunned, my mind slowly began to consider all the implications of what had just happened and any possible solutions. I thought that perhaps I could dry off in time but about 10 seconds after that thought, the bell rang, the door opened and out streamed my classmates, freshly sexually educated and confronted by a dripping wet shell of a boy.

My teacher, barely holding himself together, sent me to the school locker room to shower and change into my dry phys. ed. clothes. From there I went to the office so that I could arrange for new clothes to be brought from home. For those of you who don’t recall, my mom is deaf and so ringing phones are not really of much use in an emergency such as mine. The sad realization that I would not be able to contact her and have new clothes brought to school slowly set in. I spent the rest of the day going from class to class in a Meadowbrook Mustangs gym shirt and blue gym shorts that were embarrassingly small when placed in any other context than running laps and playing basketball on the school playground.

I wish I could say that I learned a lesson that day. I didn’t. It just sucked. The story made the school rounds and died off much more quickly than I could have hoped though so that was nice… I guess.

I still procrastinate and I am still absent-minded. Thankfully such disastrous consequences have not again befallen me.



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