Comeback Kid: Episode Five: A Long Summer

Note: We’re still in Brock’s first timeline of events here: For those of you new to Comeback Kid, check out the previous Episodes on my blog Nothing fitness related here but if you have a problem child in the house, you may want him or her to read this one as well as the next few episodes which will be released within one to two weeks.
Predictably, Brock’s parents Ana and Jay were beyond unhappy with him despite his insistence of innocence. He didn’t know how to explain himself except speak the truth but they didn’t believe him due to his more than poor work ethic the first time he played in the seventh grade when he happily rode the bench. Brock, as angry as he was, didn’t blame them. Why would anyone believe that he would have put in his all this time around? His teachers provided no support to his side of the story and his parents were already having their doubts, despite the fact most parents would defend their kid in these situations.
So for this summer Brock had a nice long work list to look forward to while his parents were at work and Jed slept in, doing whatever he pleased. Brock was really beginning to grow more and more jealous of both Jed and Lenny. Here they were, honor students who did all that was asked of them and did it well. Both were solid athletes as Jed played baseball and was already set to play football when his friends began play in a few years time. Lenny played and did very well in football, basketball and baseball, especially baseball, where he was the Homerun King in little league and one of the best Legion players in River Valley. Lenny was also first team All Mountain Athletic Conference in basketball and already gearing up for the 2005-06 season where he would probably make the varsity squad as a freshman. And then there was Brock, who held a one point eight grade point average, meaning was going to be put in lower to middle level classes next year while Lenny was graciously accepted into the college preparatory program. Also, not only was Brock nonathletic, he had very recently come to terms that no one wanted him to be an athlete. No one was going to give him a shot in middle school and they definitely weren’t about to do it in high school. So if no one was willing to give Brock a shot, Brock wasn’t going to waste his time on them.
Brock’s “little” work list was more than just cleaning around the house and doing yard and maintenance work outside the house. Jay had notified Brock’s grandparents if they needed any help on any home improvement projects since Brock’s entire summer was going to be dedicated to work. Oh, Jay let them know exactly why this was, and he filled them in on the little “stunt” Brock attempted to pull with his teachers two weeks ago. In fact, Jay told anyone who stopped by the house why Brock was the one doing all the work while everyone else sat and watched in the shade.
“I don’t get it,” Brock overheard Jay one night as he talked on the phone with Brock’s grandmother, Leanne Patrick. “He’s doesn’t even like anyone of us, he doesn’t like to put any effort into schoolwork, he won’t work at anything for that matter. And all he does every night he comes home from school is play video games. This has to change.”
Brock could not hear his grandmother’s reply to this statement but it was safe to assume that she was insisting Jay and Ana get extra strict with Brock and take these privileges away. This appeared to be accurate, as Jay came home from work the night after Brock’s charade with the teachers and laid out the policies that were in place this summer. For an ex-Desert Storm veteran like Jay, this would just be another summer. For a polar opposite to Jay like Brock was, it was a horror story.
“You won’t be playing any video games at all this summer,” Jay started.
“What?” blurted Brock, gazing at his father from the other end of the round kitchen table with a horror struck look on his face.
“Don’t cut me off,” Jay said sternly. “Or I’ll take more than just video games away. Here is what’s going to happen. You’re to get up at seven, eat breakfast, and clean the house. You’re running the sweeper, doing the dishes, dusting the end tables, washing the clothes, drying the clothes, and folding them once they’re dried. You are not to go see Lenny at all this summer and if he asks you to come down you are going to tell him exactly why this is and if you don’t, I’m going to. Are we clear? You’re going to think you’re in Parris Island but let me tell you something, it’s minute compared to that.”
“Like I wanted to see Lenny anyway,” sneered Brock, thinking of how he no longer appeared to be in Lenny’s plans since Lenny had sports and scholarly aspirations that did not include Brock, so as far as Brock knew, he was going to put Lenny in his back seat. “So what if I slack?”
Jay gave Brock a very dangerous look and stood up quickly, but Brock didn’t flinch. He pointed a finger in Brock’s face and Brock shifted his head back but remained seated.
“Your grandmother will be here to oversee all of this at eight in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,” ranted Jay through gritted teeth. “And then your mother will be here and make sure this is done on Tuesday and her parents will be here on Thursday to make sure your work is taken care of! And don’t even get me started on weekends, because you’ll be dealing with me. I already received permission to take every Saturday off and I told my boss why I am doing so. Guess what? He was one hundred percent behind me!
“Not only are you costing yourself a summer but you’re making your grandmother, your sixty-seven year old grandmother, drive here three times a week because your mother and I can’t trust you,” Jay continued loudly, banging his fist off the table. “You’re costing a sixty-seven year old woman with little income weekly and on top of that you’re costing your mother her day off from work and you’re taking a day away from her parents. But I’m not finished yet.”
Jay’s flat top hair styled, clean shaven face was now directly in Brock’s, a mere inch from his. Brock tried to look away, now fighting to keep his face straight, but it only made Jay angrier. Jay’s gray eyes looked without mercy.
“Look at me and stop that smirking!” he demanded, his voice rising even louder.
Brock didn’t intend to laugh when under stress. This was just a reaction. Could he help it? Maybe. But most of the time he was yelled at, it just happened. Luckily, it didn’t happen when he was being disciplined in school.
“Sorry,” said Brock, trying his hardest not to laugh.
“I have more for you, so laugh at this! Guess what? When your grandparents need help with their housework, you are going to go work for them as well,” said Jay, now mocking Brock’s sneering face. “One of the reasons my mother is coming three days a week is because you’re going to cut her grass, her neighbor’s grass, as well as Aunt Annie’s grass. With a push mower! Ten solid acres in the dead heat of summer. And your day isn’t over until the job is done, understand?”
“Yes,” said Brock. “Do I get any breaks?”
“You get a one hour lunch break and a one hour dinner break,” Jay replied, now pacing in front of Brock.
“What if I get all my work done?” asked Brock. “Seriously, I can’t just be working the entire time, can I?”
“Your day will start at seven-thirty and it doesn’t end until seven-thirty in the evening,” said Jay. “And if you run out of things to do, someone is going to find something for you to do. Also, when you’re working, there’s going to be a no T.V rule, got it?”
“What about evenings?” droned Brock.
“You’re watching what your mom and I are watching,” said Jay. “And that’s it. You’re going to be working seven days a week, with no days off. So when we have our Fourth of July party, guess who’s working the entire time?”
“Okay, I get it,” said Brock, annoyed.
“You better get it,” said Jay. “Maybe then it will teach you how to act right.”

Brock spent the entire summer doing exactly what Jay said he was going to do. Brock worked long days and Jay wasn’t exaggerating in the slightest when he told Brock his days were going to be twelve hours long. And they were a long twelve hours. First, Brock cleaned the house under the annoyingly close supervision of a grandparent or his mother, neither of whom were backing down to Brock’s constant whining and outspokenness as he cleaned.
It usually took Brock a good five hours to clean, and he was forced as his “supervisors” lectured to him that it typically took them two hours tops to clean their houses. This meant these old people were taking less than half the time it took fourteen year old Brock to complete a days worth of cleaning. But Brock didn’t care. He figured since it was their livelihood they may as well be experts in what Brock called their low status field.
Brock was washing clothes, towels, and dishes. He had to do a minimum of three loads per day unless there weren’t three loads to wash. When his indoor work was over he had an extensive outdoor list to do on three of the five weekdays at the house. This included mowing grass, trimming weeds painting the back porch, power washing the house, and various other outdoor activities. It didn’t end at the house either. If he wasn’t doing the outdoor work at his house then he was at a grandparent’s house or the church, all the way out in a tiny town called Richfield and doing outdoor work in ninety degree heat all day after his morning chores were completed. He thought this should qualify as child abuse, but everyone around him insisted this was to build character which was the truth. Brock’s character was nothing but self entitlement and laziness.
Meanwhile, Lenny came up to the house literally every other day, and sometimes even Lenny’s best friend David, who lived just up the road, came along. Brock still had to do his work during these times while Jed, Lenny, and David lazed around, ate what they wanted, played video games, played outside, and did anything and everything Brock did not have the privilege to do that summer.
One would believe Brock would have learned his lesson and become a harder worker who cared more about his grades and himself. Brock was one of those people who wanted big things, huge things and huge accomplishments. Yet he lacked the drive to go out and get them. He dreamed of making large amounts of money one day, being in the top one percentile of the American income bracket, and being in one of those super pacs who controlled what his chosen elected officials said and did. Brock’s unsung dream was to join America’s Power Elite and force the laws that would control the entire nation. Then Brock figured everyone would see him as the boss over all, the ruler.
Brock was very power hungry, yet in a reality far distant from his sadistic fantasy, very lazy. He was motivated, but only until the going got tough. When things became too tough for him, usually fairly early in any endeavor, he had the bad habit of giving in instead of working harder to find solutions. Worse yet, he absolutely loathed those who did find success at his age, such as the students who were routinely on the honors list and made strides athletic-wise that deserved recognition. In essence, Brock wanted success yet hated others who had success. Being that Brock’s school schedule was full of basic and mid-level classes, he already came to the conclusion that college was simply not for him even at this age and he decided that he just wanted to graduate high school in four years and then make his big moves, proving to everyone just how much better he was than the rest of them without a college education.

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