When Will I Ever Learn

Write an argument—the worst dispute your character has ever been in, at least in his or her opinion—without using a single exclamation point or all-caps word. It’s an exercise in discipline: Keep the fire contained, brimming at the surface but never boiling over. Oh, and make sure you mention a pair of pliers and a spectator.

My room again. Man, this just sucks. How many times have I been sent here so far this summer and how many times will I be sent again? No one knows, except my mom. Yeah, my mom.

I know I’ve told you about her before, but I just have to tell you again. She’s got to be the most controlling person on the planet. No really, she is. “Callie, you shouldn’t chew gum. It isn’t lady-like.” “Callie, you can’t wear make-up. Only loose girls wear make-up.” “Callie, cell phones are for emergencies, not for chatting.” Callie, Callie, Callie. That’s all I ever hear.

And when she’s not telling me how to act or feel or think, she’s grounding me to my room for breaking some kind of rule. You’d think I was a criminal instead of just an average 13-year-old.

So, what got me here this time? You are just not going to believe it. I swear, you aren’t.

I was out in the yard fixing my bike. How innocent is that? My little brother, Kyle, was hanging around me – bothering me like usual. He is about as annoying as my mom is controlling if that tells you anything.

Anyway, I was fixing my bike and I asked him to hand me a wrench. He reaches into the toolbox and hands me a pair of pliers. Gawd. How stupid can a kid be? I threw the pliers over my shoulder as I reached for the wrench out of the toolbox.


I whipped my head around and….crap. Yep, you guessed it. I threw just a little too hard and that stupid pair of pliers went right threw the basement window. It took no time at all for my mom to be out on the front porch and even less time for her to determine, that once again, I was in big trouble.

I tried to explain. It was an accident. But my stupid brother had to open his big trap. He started to whine about how I threw the pliers at him. In my loudest voice, and in no uncertain terms, I told my mom that I had not thrown anything at him. Then I made a fatal mistake. I told her that I wish I had. When am I going to learn to keep my mouth shut?

Mom began her tirade. I tiraded right back. My brother was snickering and I turned on him and said, “This isn’t a spectator sport idiot.”

And that was pretty much the end. I’m here in my room fuming. Kyle is out in the hall giggling. And my mom is sure that she has the worst daughter in all of Idaho.

Teri B. Clark
Copyright 2009

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