An acid test for humor is if we laugh out loud when we’re alone with no one to hear us.
I did just that when I read the following 15 year old high school Sophomore’s homework assignment emailed to me by his Mother, not only for the humor but the well-written surprise ending.
Be sure and read the postscript
Once upon a time, there was a boy. This boy had no athletic ability at all. However, this boy had heart and passion. He gave everything he did 100 percent. He was particularly good at school, a nerd as some may say. He spent most of his day with his nose in a book, keeping to himself because other kids were not nice to him. The biggest offenders were the high school’s quarterback Chad, and his buddies Brad and Tad. They called him names like “Wormhead” or even other harsher words. “Wormhead” seemed to stick, though. They weren’t exactly trying to be mean when they created the moniker. “Wormhead” stemmed from the fact that the boy was a bookworm and they didn’t know his name. Had they bothered to ask, the boy’s name just happened to be Atticus, just like Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.
One day, Atticus was walking home, when he heard a sinister sounding, “heh heh heh.” Brad, Tad, and Chad came sauntering toward him. Atticus turned around to go the other way when Chad yelled,
“Hey Wormhead, where are you going?”
Atticus simply replied, “Home.”
“Why not stay and talk, Buddy,” Chad asked.
Without hesitation, Atticus turned and ran all the way home without looking back.
After what seemed to be an eternity, Atticus finally got home to his dog, Bim, and his mother, Hannah. His father had died from brain cancer when Atticus was three years old. His mom was understandably shaken from that and never fully recovered. When she asked her son how school was, she was only half present and not really listening. Atticus then left to go do his homework, play video games, and read a little before bed.
Atticus woke up in a sweat later that night. A figure appeared with a bright light surrounding it. The light was so bright that he couldn’t see its face. He could see, however, that the figure was kicking something. It appeared to be a football, but that didn’t make sense since Atticus had no athletic ability. Before he could think about it further, Atticus fell back to sleep.
The next day, Atticus went to school like he always did. Everything was normal until he saw a flyer that said, “Football Tryouts: 3:30 p.m.” Atticus felt compelled to go for some reason. Besides, he couldn’t get any less popular, so why not? Soon it was 3:30 p.m. and it was time for the football tryouts. Atticus picked up his helmet from the football office, along with a pair of cleats. He stood by himself on the field and nobody knew who he was with his helmet on—not even Chad, Brad, or Tad. Cloaked in anonymity, Atticus decided to kick a football. It was perfect! He nailed a 50-yard field goal! Bang. He hit another, and another. The entire football team watched in awe. Then, the coach yelled,
“Hey boy! Get over here!”
Atticus panicked. He didn’t want his identity revealed so he ran all the way home, never once looking back. He didn’t even notice that his ridiculously small cleat fell off along the way.
It wasn’t long before the whole school heard what happened. Girls started to swoon over this mysterious athlete, particularly the head cheerleader, Rachel. She started a contest to find the person who fit into the cleat. The winner would take Rachel to Homecoming. Atticus was unaware of any of this, as he was fully engrossed in Moby Dick. Two weeks went by and Rachel started to feel hopeless. That night, the bright figure came back to Atticus. This time, it was putting on a cleat. Atticus was more aware this time and determined to understand what the vision meant. When he got to school, he looked at the message board and saw the poster for the “Shoe Contest: 2:00 p.m. Sharp.” Once again, Atticus felt compelled to go. To the surprise of everyone, the cleat fit!
Atticus took Rachel to homecoming. He also became the starting kicker for the varsity football team. His mom actually came to his games and became truly happy again. As for Chad, Brad, and Tad, they failed a drug test and were banned from high school activities forever.
This was written by my Grandson, Leighton Bechdel, who is also the Varsity Kicker and Punter for the Towson High School Football Team in Towson, Maryland. Heh, heh.