I was working on a deadline for a local family magazine when my 12-year-old son entered the office.
I looked at him and smiled, but my "I'm almost done, I just need another 45 minutes in a row to finish this story. My deadline is today." did not register with him.
"You're stressed because your deadline is today. That's because you put it off until the last minute. You probably knew about this for a week," he replied.
Actually, I knew about it for three months. But I wasn't ready to write it up until the day of the deadline. Because I didn't know what to write about. And because I was far too consumed with thoughts about this season of "The Bachelorette."
(I hadn't watched it since Trista and Ryan's wedding 10 years ago, but I knew a bachelor this season. He went out the first round, but by then I was too invested in Dez's happiness and had to see this train wreck through. Not proud... just sayin'...)
"How many words does it need to be?" he asked
"750," I replied, still lingering at word 135.
"Use words like 'at' or 'on' or 'up,'" he recommended. "Those are short words that don't take as long to type."
I nodded as I tried to concentrate long enough to get back into the flow. But he continued.
"And whenever you have a word like 'wasn't' or 'don't'... what are those called?" The child will be in 7th grade. He was recently bumped up a grade in math. English? Not looking good.
"Contractions?" I offered.
"Yeah," he replied. "Whenever you have a contraction, spread the word out. Like 'was not' or 'do not.' That will help you take up more room. At least, that's what I do."
A typical man of few words (just like Dez's last boyfriend... hmmm... I just got flash-forwards of Luke's future ex-girlfriend lamenting on TV about what a poor communicator her last boyfriend was. And how his advanced math skills really did not make up for it), Luke had a strategy.
"That's what I do for papers," he confessed. Though he thinks he was helping.
But he wasn't - sorry, was not - finished.
"And if you have to have a certain number of pages for your paper and you're using 12-point font, you can do your periods in 14-point font. The period will be the same size, but it will make the line bigger so it takes up more room."
Fourteen more days until school starts. And is his teacher ever in for a treat.
Back to my grind...