The Bribe Gone Bad

I was just catching up on one of my favorite blogs by jeandayfriday.  She wrote about a certain bribe that was made to encourage excellent academic achievement.  Wa-la!  It worked.  But, I’ve got to be responsible and caution people who might be thinking this is a great technique against a possible consequence of bribes:  The Follow-through!

Flashback to 2007. 

The brand-new, black, silver-racing-striped Shelby Mustang sat in the corner of Wendell Ford Sales for an entire week before The Doc and I stopped to give it a good once-over.  We love Mustangs.  Love them.  It’s our dream to own a Mustang.  And here one sits.  Beautiful, black, sporty, fast.  It’s youth on four wheels.  What else could we do?

The Doc decided it would be really fun to surprise our oldest, a sixth grader, with the car by picking him up after school in the sweet ride.  The Doc and Jay walked out of the building and it took about a nano-second for Jay to see it parked in the lot.

“Holy cow that’s an awesome car.  Dad, look at that car!”  He oohed and aahed over it.

“Yeah, that’s a sweet car,”  The Doc grinned, “I wonder whose it is?”

The Doc reported that Jay looked around the parent parking lot, otherwise empty, and looked puzzled.  The Doc, like a cowboy from the Old West pulling his gun from the holster, took the keys from his pocket.  Beep.  Beep.

“Guess what, kid,”  he says to my son, “it’s ours!”

He made it all the way home from school before he asked us both, still in the driveway, “Can I drive it to Prom?”

The Doc and I chuckle at each other.  Prom.  That’s a zillion years away.  In fact, it might never come.  After all, I wasn’t planning on aging.  Why should my son?

“We’ll see.”  The Doc tells him.

The next day Jay asks again, “Can I drive it to Prom?”

This little prat’s persistent isn’t he?   He must take after The Doc.

“I’ll have to talk to Dad about it,”  I tell him.

That evening The Doc and I have to have a conversation about our baby (the car) and Prom.  We decide that, since Prom is, as we’ve established, a zillion light years away, and since our son is a classic underachiever in school that we will grant him permission on the condition that he earn all A’s.  All the way through high school.  For all four years.  (Insert nefarious laughter here.)  It couldn’t possibly be done.  We deliver the news.

Jay smiles and says, “OK.”  The Doc and I promptly forget the conversation ever took place.

Fast Forward to 2012

Jay is a Senior in high school.  He’s #2 in his class, in part because he’s gotten all A’s.  In every class. For each of the last three years.  He started dropping hints last May when Prom rolled around.

“Hey, can I take the Mustang this year?”

“No.  You’re a junior.  High school’s not over yet.  You can’t drive a stick.  I don’t even drive the Mustang.  Pick any of the above reasons,”  I tell him.

A few weeks ago at Homecoming, “Hey, I can’t wait till I can take the Mustang to Prom.”  I pretend I don’t hear him.  The Doc walks over, “What is he talking about?”

“You remember,”  I say. “We promised him if he got all A’s he could take the car to Prom.”

“I never said that,”  he claims, indignant.

“Yes, you did.”

“Well, I don’t remember it,”  he says.

“You were busy in 2007,”  I remind him,  “You don’t remember much of anything.”

So now The Doc and I, the deadline looming closer and closer, are facing the reality that we may have to release our baby into the world in the hands of a…..teenager….in the hands of OUR teenager…who doesn’t realize that after he puts the dirty clothes in the machine he has to turn it on…

This reality is making us panicy nervous.  “Prom is in April and we won’t know if you’ve earned all A’s until May, so ha!”  says Doc.  “You can’t drive stick,”  I remind him.

I feel kind of like the gold-spinning girl from Rumpelstiltskin.  I made a promise to give away my firstborn (or first bought), and now I’m looking for a loophole.  I know in the end I’ll have to give her up.  So, in the mean time, wish us luck.

And, by the way, not having learned anything from the past five years, The Doc has already promised Jay that if he can get himself a full-ride to college and manage to keep it for all four years of college that he will buy Jay a new car upon his graduation.  I told the kid to get it in writing.

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4 Responses to The Bribe Gone Bad

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    What a great story. And what a great kid. I’d say he’s earned it. (But you can be sure I’ll be careful about the promises I make to my kids now.) 😉

  2. The Hook says:

    Great tale! You truly made me smile – and that’s priceless..

  3. javaj240 says:

    OMG… Of course you have to let him, but which one of you will follow him in the other car? The whole night. LOL!

  4. I am looking forward to seeing the Shelby at prom this spring! 😉

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