25,000 lines. It was this crisis point where I took it to Daddo.
His Delphic cave was the living-room counter top that we called "the bar," where he stood for hours, gazing into the beautiful vista of Lake Ontario, smoking cigarettes and sipping beer.
I poured out my tale of woe and asked what to do. Daddo took a drag from his cigarette, considered the quandry for a lengthy moment, and then made his pronouncement: "You can't get blood from a turnip, honey."
Back in my room, I pondered turnips and blood and the usually mild-mannered Mr. Jarosz. How ridiculous it would be to actually commit 25,000 lines to paper. Did I even have enough notebook pages?
Eventually I parsed Daddo's phrase to my advantage: be a turnip. A turnip might just hold tight and wait for the squeeze. Or it might just pretend that the huge task had never been assigned. No blood, no fuss.
From that day forward, I never mentioned the debt. Neither did Mr. Jarosz. It was a huge relief to turn turnip on the subject. I think the teacher was likewise happy to let the thing go. In any case, there were no consequences of not handing in all those lines.
Which, come to think of it, makes yet another solid vindication for a well-placed shortcut.
About the Blog
A lot of ground gets covered on this blog -- from sailboat racing to book suggestions to plain old piffle.
Trying to keep track? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter or if you use an aggregator, click the RSS option below.
Old school? Sign up for the newsletter and I'll shoot you a short e-mail when there's something new.