I think I am going to make this a regular series. The antics of Tim, part DEUX!
Tim circled around me like a vulture around a beached whale (do vultures eat whale?). As a preemptive strike, I asked.
“Do you need help with your homework, Tim?”
“What, you think that’s all I talk to you for? Fine, then.”
“Well, do you?”
“No! Forget this! I’m just going to ask google dot com!”
Fine by me.
I knew I should have been a good big sister and checked up on his homework, especially after the concerning reference to google. But honestly, I didn’t have the energy to care. I had my own problems: school, work, and news editor of the college paper. So my brother’s misuse of Internet sources wasn’t high on my priority list.
The week after that little tantrum, dad had to go to Tim’s parent-teacher meetings. He dreaded them ever since the incident with the raw bacon. The meetings never really went well. Teachers just told dad that Tim was failing, but that they’d bump his grades to push him to the next level.
Dad had us when he was still a teenager, and so now he was in his late-thirties and still a good-looking guy. I could just imagine what the teachers were thinking:
“That Tim has to be held back. As a responsible teacher, I have to do the right thing. His father probably won’t like to hear it, but it’s a disservice to the other children and to my profession if…hey now. Who’s that. Hmm…no ring. Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt if I bumped Tim’s grade up. By eighteen points.”
This time, when dad went, they started with a discussion about Tim’s “wandering eyes.”
“Let’s just say that…he has trouble…focusing. So we have this cubicle for him to take tests in.”
“You put my son in a box?”
“It’s not really a box…it’s more of a shield so that he…doesn’t get distracted.”
“How do you know that he’s not just getting his notes out of his backpack while he’s in the box? I mean, you can’t see him, either.”
“Tim’s scores…lead me to believe that this is not the case.”
“OK. So he has trouble keeping his eyes on his paper. I’ll talk to him about that. What else?”
The teacher shifted. Dad could be pretty intense. He used to be on the side of the teachers until he realized that they were simply passing him and not making sure he learned anything.
“I have a question, and I hope you don’t take offense. Are you of Italian descent?”
“Is there anyone…what I mean to ask, Mr. Rios, is that do you know of any reason why Tim would speak with an Italian accent?”
“OK…then maybe you should speak with him about that as well.”
“Wooden cube and accents. Anything else?”
“One more thing. As you may know, I am your son’s health teacher.”
“Yes, my son takes your class twice instead of learning a foreign language. I’m aware of the setup.”
“All right. The students were supposed to make a little booklet on a vitamin or mineral…something the body needs. They were supposed to present it to the class. Like this…”
The teacher opened a bound and laminated booklet labeled “iron.” It was five pages long and featured pictures of a steak and beans. “They were supposed to present it to the class and turn it in. This is an example of an A project.”
“This is what Tim turned in…” Tim had folded two pieces of computer together and glued pink print to one side. Dad’s eyebrows came together.
“Why is it pink? And why did he cut out the writing just to glue it to more paper?”
“I really don’t know, Mr. Rios. So Tim was unable to read his report to the class, and gave it to me to read for him. I think he just copied a website…and I believe he may have misunderstood the assignment.” Instead of talking about the health benefits of potassium, there was a picture of the atom of element K and a list of how it reacted with the rest of the periodic table.
“As for the pictures, here is what he put.”
Dad pulled apart the computer paper and saw a picture of a banana on the inside. The caption read, in his scraggly handwriting in silver gel pen, “Bananas have a lot of Element K.”
“That’s good, right? At least he got that right. Bananas have potassium.”
“Look at the second picture on the back.”
Dad flipped the page.
It was the LG Chocolate phone from Verizon. The caption? “My dad won’t buy me this phone.”