The Summer of 2011:
I sit in the basement of our home at 8 o’clock in the morning–perhaps even later–and stare at the screen as I play a game on my X-Box 360. Mind you, I used to think this was the best present I had ever received on Christmas morning.
The game might be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, or it could be Lego Star Wars. I fluctuated between those two quite a bit during that summer–and the summers following.
I care less what the game is, so long as I am playing the game and fulfilling myself.
Upstairs, on the kitchen counter, is a list of chores scrawled in blue pen. Mine range from scooping dog crap to finishing my laundry. My sibling’s chores–around the same categories. Simple chores, really; each of them, and more, can be accomplished in two hours or less.
But I am a sixth grader whose sole purpose is to shoot down baddies and collect Gold Bricks. A little known fact: when you enter into middle school, your brain goes into total shutdown. All of you can think of, all the time, is yourself and the things that make you happy; self-centrism I blame on hormones.
The chores…the chores are not finished that day.
The Summer of 2013:
I sit in the basement of our home at 10 o’ clock in the morning and stare at the screen as I play a game on my Playstation 3. Now, I can’t quite remember if my siblings were playing with me; however, they were probably screaming at each other in cooperative computer games.
Beside me is a bag of Doritos from which I scoop a handful and stuff in my mouth. These chips are not a snack. Oh no, these chips are my lunch. My breakfast was a slim bowl of Frosted Flakes. My actual snack consists of two large Oatmeal Cream Pies that I unwrap as fast I can so I can return to shocking idiots in Infamous, or was it Infamous 2?
Upstairs, on the kitchen counter, is a list of chores scrawled in red pen. Mine range from cleaning my disgusting bathroom–as of late, I have moved into the basement bedroom–to wiping a wet rag across the baseboards of the whole house. My sibling’s chores–around the same categories, with the exception of my sister now having to finish her laundry. Simple chores, really; each of them, and more, can be accomplished in two and a half hours or less.
But I am an eighth grader whose sole purpose it is to zap electricity at baddies and gain new superpowers.
The chores…the chores are almost finished that day; yes, almost meaning thirty minutes before our parents come home from work.
The Summer of 2014:
I sit in the basement of our home at 9 o’ clock in the morning, and I turn off my Playstation 3. From there, I head to my bedroom and lace up a pair of Asics sneakers–without so much as a healthy breakfast, I leave the house and run three and a half miles.
I return at 9:40 in the morning, breathing hard; and yet still I stretch and drink copious amounts of water. My siblings are in the office and are staring at their computer screens as they team up with one another in a game of Roblox.
On the kitchen counter is a list of chores scrawled in red pen. Mine range from completing several loads of laundry to doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen. My sibling’s chores–around the same categories, with the exception of my brother now having to finish his laundry. Simple chores, really; each of them, and more, can be accomplished in three hours or less.
And I am a freshman whose sole purpose is to ensure the list is checked off.
The chores…the chores are finished that day, and only because I nag at my brother and sister to get off their butts and start cleaning.
The Summer of 2016:
I sit in the basement of our house at 4:30 in the morning and write the next chapter in my first novel, This Sudden Apocalypse. The rest of the house is still fast asleep–it is a wonder I can be so awake without so much as a cup of coffee.
At 7:30, upstairs, on the kitchen counter, there is a list of chores scrawled in red pen.
I don’t even have to look. I know what needs to be done.
Simple chores, really; each of them can be accomplished in an hour and a half or less.
And I am a junior whose sole purpose it is to ensure the list is checked off before I have to attend Cross Country practice at the high school.
The chores…all the chores are finished that day.
The Summer of 2017:
I stand outside the office of our house at 7:30 in the evening and watch my brother fight his way through a couple matches of Mortal Kombat X; and, all the while, I am encouraging him to get that punch, or kick him there.
Then, while scrolling past other games, he sighs, puts down his controller, and says, “Actually, I think I have some important things to do right now.” And he turns off the Playstation 4 and leaves the office, the controller still warm on the desk.
I have graduated school, and he is an eighth grader.
I pat him on the back and say, “Look at you, Mr. Responsible…”