If you take your kid on a college visit, he’s going to want to go there. (Even if the tuition is twice the GDP of most third world countries).
And when he decides he wants to go there, he’ll need to take the ACT test.
When he takes the ACT test (for which you will have paid $50 late registration fee), he will need a calculator. Not just any calculator, mind you. An approved calculator. Which you won’t have figured out until 6:50 a.m. on the morning of the test.
Once you toss the entire contents of your desk to find him an approved calculator, he will discover that the calculator he used for school all last year will work just fine and that he also needs some pencils. The yellow kind. Not mechanical. And sharpened
So you will dive into the pile of office supplies dumped when looking for the approved calculator, and find not one, not two, but THREE yellow #2 pencils. An heir, a spare, and a spare for the spare!
When the pencils are all sharpened to within an inch of their little wooden lives, he’ll discover that he also needs a good eraser. Not a pink one. It has to be the white fancy test-taking kind of eraser. The kind they only sell at Office Max or Office Depot. Neither of which is open at 6:51 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Something in the back of your mind tells you there’s a white eraser in that office supply pile. You take a deep breath and dive in again, saying a prayer which includes a curse word or two — along the lines of “Dear God, this better be the last D*MN thing he needs.”
When the pencils are sharpened, the eraser is pocketed and the calculator is in hand, you will discover that it might be a good idea for the kid to eat something. So you shove a protein bar into his other hand and push him to the car.
Once in the car, he tells you he’s nauseous.
When he tells you he’s nauseous, you realize that this test, while only three hours, is a huge step toward college. He knows it counts. He cares.
So, while you ponder telling him he’d better not throw up in your new car, what you say instead is, “Honey, you’re going to do great. Just do the best you can.”
And you hope that he does.
Because he wants to go to college. And the tuition costs more than the GDP of most third world countries.