The Dog Ate It

Header Photo: Russell Lee [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, perpetually in residence at Wendell Wilkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

Back-to-school time keeps getting closer and none of my ideas to skip out on this entire year have worked, so I’m trying to get in the mood to be a Sophomore again.

It’s not that easy, because I struggle with homework. I understand it just fine, but the thought of getting it done and handing just makes me feel kinda like a chump. I don’t get why teachers get to tell us what to do with our time when we’re not in school. Once I’m out of the building I feel free and I kinda forget everything that happened in there.

But my dad says you have to submit to authority if you’re going to get along in the world.

In the evening he likes to have a little drink and that’s when he gets really chatty about work. He says his job at the bank “is like 10th grade on steroids.” “Facing up to your homework,” he said, “is a job audition.”

I told him homework is boring, especially since I’ve been a Sophomore forever and there’s not a 10th grade assignment I haven’t seen.

“Think about your resume’,” he said. “When you apply for that first miserable, soul-sucking job, potential employers will want to know that you can stomach the B.S.. Having your spirit crushed and finishing your stupid assignments is what getting your payday is all about.”

I had my doubts, so I Googled “getting your payday,” and I saw this article about how New York State has more than 13 billion dollars in unclaimed funds just lying around. The money belongs to people who didn’t get paid for one reason or another.

The companies that hold the money (a lot of them are banks!) have an assignment. They’re supposed to try to find the owners. If they can’t, they turn it over to the state instead. And it looks like they’ve turned a lot over.

Some of the people the banks admit they own money to but have not been able to find have names like Barack Obama, Madonna, Tom Wolfe, Jerry Seinfeld and the Dalai Lama.

I don’t know who they have on their staff with the job of finding people, but it sounds to me like they don’t take their assignments very seriously.


Which is good news for me, because I don’t take my assignments seriously, either! So I’m wondering if my track record of not doing my homework is something I should move to the top of my resume?

It could help me land that first job, especially if I get looked at by a bank!

Your pal,

I told Bubby he should never put it on his resume that he doesn’t take his homework seriously, because these documents may never go away completely, and an uncomplimentary paper trail is a terrible thing to have to drag through life. If a particular unsavory quality is an unwritten requirement for the job, letting a prospective employer know that you meet it should be unwritten as well – a knowing wink or a conspiratorial nudge ought to be enough.

How good are you at getting your assignments done?

38 thoughts on “The Dog Ate It”

  1. I’m very good at getting my assignments done and I have learned the factor I need to put a flex point on if possible is the due date. Important things always get done, urgent things are what happen along the way that keep you from getting to the important things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rise and Finish Your Homework Baboons!

    Like our glorious tim who got to this post first this morning, I finish EVERYTHING. Everything. Yes, indeedy, I do. That is why my art room is filled with my UFPs: Unfinished Projects. The bane of any artist/craftsperson. Not only do I have miy UFPs, but I have some of my mother’s unfinished quilting projects as well. However, we (meaning my sister and i) hired my niece to complete many of those after finding about a dozen unfinished quilts in Mom’s art room in the basement when we cleaned out her house in 2008. The quilts were beautiful and worthy of having someone finish them. Then we found unfinished quilts of my Great Grandmother, as well. Some of those are still in my basement in a box. Along with strands of my Grandma’s unfinished tatting projects.

    This not finishing projects must be genetic. Maybe I don’t wanna talk about this any more.

    Gotta go…..

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Morning all. “Delayed Gratification” could be my middle name, if I had one. Occasionally this bugs me as I can keep at the delay part so long that I never actually get to the gratification part.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning. I mostly hated homework and was not good at getting it done. I usually did what I had to do reluctantly and sometime haphazardly. There were some assignments that were not too bad as well as some that I liked. I didn’t mind doing some of the better ones. Unfortunately, I found that most homework assignments tended to be pointless busy work.

    I have a strong desire to be treated as a person who can make my own choices. I very much don’t like being given tasks to do that go against what I think should be done. In fact, I am a little bit resistant to being told to do things that I know I should do. However, I do try to take care of my responsibilities. I will try to do those things that I know I should do even if I don’t like being told to do them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve in Saint Paul ran a loose ship, missed deadlines, misplaced energy bills, used his time badly and often failed to finish projects.

    Happy Valley Steve is so good he disgusts me. He does everything he should and nothing he shouldn’t. I can’t say he finishes a lot of projects because he is so crippled he is challenged to finish anything, but he sure tries hard to meet every deadline. He eats and drinks moderately. He is just no damn fun at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It probably sounds weird that people wouldn’t claim money that’s due them, but it’s a big problem at the job I’m working now. In fact, I was supposed to be hired for the unclaimed property division, except that it didn’t get up and running right away and they needed us temps on other teams to get their backlogs done. There seem to be LOTS of people who just don’t open their mail or get around to finishing their paperwork, and it seems like lots of them live in Texas. I swear, every third follow-up letter I send is going to Texas…

    Not that I can complain about other people not finishing things, because I have a number of unfinished poems and unfinished fics on my computer, some of them a couple of years old. Then there are the things that aren’t *unfinished* because I never actually started them in the first place, like the two knitting projects I bought yarn for last fall but still haven’t cast on a stitch. Technically, owning the yarn is not the same as a UFO, because it’s Stash at that point, not Project. For reals.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m keying in on Bubby’s dad’s concern about his resume. A few weeks ago, a client who has a 26-year old college graduate son living at home, told me this story. The kid just wasn’t motivated to find his first job and was really annoyed that this was expected of him. He did, after all, have a cushy living situation.

    After sending out dozens of job applications and receiving just as many rejections on form letters, his frustration took the form of crafting a resume that was blasphemous. In it, he wrote, “This whole interview/resume crap is a joke” and “I’m always late for work and totally irresponsible” and “I’m slow and unmotivated”. Well, you get the idea? The resume went on to list all the reasons he’d be a terrible employee and how much he hated authority figures.

    Somehow he hit the wrong key on his laptop and this damning thing went out to a few prospects he’d not yet tried. Low and behold, one of them called him right away and enthusiastically invited him to a job interview! When he showed up, an entire staff of people exclaimed, “That’s the best resume we’ve ever gotten!” and went on to say that it was so funny they’d rolled on the floor laughing. He then met with several higher ups and was not only hired, but given a non-existent job. That’s right; they actually created a position just for him!

    This position was in their creative department. My guess is that this business was hungry for humor and irreverence.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Reminds me of this letter sent to The New Yorker by Eudora Welty in 1933. Unlike your young man, she never heard from them.


      I suppose you’d be more interested in even a sleight-o’-hand trick than you’d be in an application for a position with your magazine, but as usual you can’t have the thing you want most.

      I am 23 years old, six weeks on the loose in N.Y. However, I was a New Yorker for a whole year in 1930–31 while attending advertising classes in Columbia’s School of Business. Actually I am a southerner, from Mississippi, the nation’s most backward state. Ramifications include Walter H. Page, who, unluckily for me, is no longer connected with Doubleday-Page, which is no longer Doubleday-Page, even. I have a B.A.(’29) from the University of Wisconsin, where I majored in English without a care in the world. For the last eighteen months I was languishing in my own office in a radio station in Jackson, Miss., writing continuities, dramas, mule feed advertisements, santa claus talks, and life insurance playlets; now I have given that up.

      As to what I might do for you — I have seen an untoward amount of picture galleries and 15¢ movies lately, and could review them with my old prosperous detachment, I think; in fact, I recently coined a general word for Matisse’s pictures after seeing his latest at the Marie Harriman: concubineapple. That shows you how my mind works — quick, and away from the point. I read simply voraciously, and can drum up an opinion afterwards.

      Since I have bought an India print, and a large number of phonograph records from a Mr. Nussbaum who picks them up, and a Cezanne Bathers one inch long (that shows you I read e. e. cummings I hope), I am anxious to have an apartment, not to mention a small portable phonograph. How I would like to work for you! A little paragraph each morning — a little paragraph each night, if you can’t hire me from daylight to dark, although I would work like a slave. I can also draw like Mr. Thurber, in case he goes off the deep end. I have studied flower painting.

      There is no telling where I may apply, if you turn me down; I realize this will not phase you, but consider my other alternative: the U of N.C. offers for $12.00 to let me dance in Vachel Lindsay’s Congo. I congo on. I rest my case, repeating that I am a hard worker.

      Truly yours,

      Eudora Welty”

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Assignments I usually get done by the deadline – just. I tend to get started right away, and then goof around until the last minute. Writing furiously the night before a paper was due was my usual modus operandi in college. I hate this tendency to put stuff off, but it’s been a lifelong habit that I haven’t broken yet. It didn’t help matters that four years ago I got cracking on our income tax returns early. I actually filed them three weeks before the deadline only to receive a corrected W-2 from Hans’ employer a week after I had filed them. Aaargh!

    While not exactly assignments, projects I start on my own, sometimes don’t get finished – ever. I simply lose interest along the way. I have an embroidered table cloth, tiny petit point, that I started when I was 15. I did the hem first – that’s the most tedious part – because I knew that after I got done with the embroidery, I might not get around to hemming it. Well, here we are, 56 years later, and the embroidery is half done. The last 15 years my eyesight has been so bad that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that it’ll ever get finished.


  9. I could practically just copy PJ’s comment and paste it in here (except for the income tax part. More recently, I try not to take on something I’m not going to want to complete, but I still misjudge that sometimes. Think I’ll sew some garment from scratch, end up finding something close enough to what I want at a thrift shop, and there it sits. I periodically go through and toss the ones that I’ll obviously never get to, and I’m amazed on how much “lighter” I feel, one more expectation off my back.

    Only assignment that I don’t procrastinate on is teaching folk dances – I enjoy it so much I’ll prepare ahead of time, which is good because I have more to choose from.

    I’m afraid I still have a gaggle of half-written blog essays, some of which I WILL finish some time and send to Dale. (But not this week, with the little kids visiting here!)


    1. OT – BiR, in response to a question on yesterday’s blog, no, I didn’t keep a list of what I gave tim. I’d just as soon forget. And with regard to you hearing Helen Schneyer at Orchestra Hall, I’m envious.


  10. I like projects. Things like pulling everything out of a large closet or pantry, tossing out the stuff that isn’t needed, and putting it back in a more orderly, less crowded way is something I dig. One of my biggest disappointments in the past couple years was when I was not hired to be part of the team that would switch the Hennepin County Library materials from the Dewey Decimal system to the LOC system. I was super excited when I got an interview, and super disappointed when they turned me down. I would rather do a biggish project anytime and not mess around with the little daily stuff. So if I got an assignment to do worksheets every day for an hour, I would be bored stiff, but a big paper or project would be great.

    Of course, I don’t always finish the projects. I get bored, sometimes, with the little details that are required to finish it up. Or depression gets the best of me and I can’t work up the enthusiasm needed to keep going. But I still like projects over little duties or assignments.


  11. I’m the opposite of LJB. I’d rather have a bunch of quick little projects that I can cross off a list than a big honker that will take a long time. At my job, I agreed to take my boss’s share of phone support with the agreement that I would only get small programming projects in return. Well, he’s LONG since forgotten that end of the bargain (if he ever even agreed to it).
    I’m in the middle of one of the biggest, ugliest projects I’ve ever had. Part of the problem, I’ll admit, is that I’m something of a short-timer. Once we complete migration to new software, I am out of there. So my attitude is not that of the young, enthusiastic employee I once was. Unfortunately, the short-timer time could be a year or more so this attitude thing could turn into a real burden. The blessing/curse is that they couldn’t replace me (no, they really couldn’t) so I don’t have to fear for my job.
    My real fear is that it will go on longer than a year and my staying-because-of-loyalty-to-the-company-and-to-fellow-employees will really become annoying.


    1. It’s interesting how your attitude changes once you’ve decided you’re leaving. For the 13 years Hans has worked at his current job, he has loved it. At the beginning of this year he decided he’d retire on his next birthday, and he began counting the days. He’s now down to 60 days (I think), and he complains bitterly about his job almost daily.

      Clearly, Lisa, you’re not old enough to retire. What do you intend to do once you leave your current job? Or has someone died and left you a fortune?


      1. If I make it to next August, I’ll only be a month away from 65. I hope to throw myself into more volunteering as I think I’ll feel the need to do something useful.

        I can imaging what Hans is feeling. I hope I can keep that at bay for a while at least.


        1. When I initially retired, I signed up for several volunteer gigs. Very quickly I realized that they were cramping my style. I was once again on a schedule, and I resented it. So I quit. Now I’ll do the occasional volunteering, but don’t sign up for things I have to do on a regular basis. Good luck, Lisa.


  12. There is exactly one criterion for whether or not I get a project finsihed:

    am I being paid to do it.

    If I am getting paid to do something, I almost always get it done out of the sheer weight of Lutheran guilt if I don’t. Besides, I usually need the money.

    My own projects are a tale of woe. Usually begun at a rare period of not busy-ness and slim resources-then someone waves some filthy lucre in my face and my own project is shelved indefinitely.

    I have an ongoing quilt that surfaces from time to time. S&h is always happy to see it, as it implies a level of sanity in our daily lives.

    OT-s&h is going to learn some basic driving skills with the adult cousin in Madison. Best solution for all concerned. Cousin is my new favorite person in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We sound eerily similar. Deadlines at work are made; deadlines at home, well, maybe. Just got back to town after a 540 mile trip from Minnesota.


  13. OT – Just read that Robin Williams is dead. Apparently had been battling depression and addiction, took his own life. Very sad.


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