The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 27, 2013

Mike Pound: Book no cure for boring week during summer

JOPLIN, Mo. — It has been a quiet week around our house.

Depending on your perspective, a quiet week can be a good thing or a bad thing. When you’re old, a quiet week is a good thing. When you’re young — specifically when you’re 15 — a quiet week is pretty much the end of the world.

When you’re 15, a quiet week means, “All my friends are either gone or busy and I have nothing to do, and in just a few weeks it will be time to go back to school, which makes this the worst summer ever.”

When our daughter Emma, who is 15, told me what a quiet week meant to her, I told her that I understood exactly how she felt and that I would do everything in my power to make sure that she had the best week in the history of summer.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sometimes I kill myself.

No, what I told Emma was: “Quit whining. I can give you something to do, you know.”

I’m not exactly Ward Cleaver when it comes to parenting. Besides, a couple of weeks ago Emma was complaining that she had too much to do.

“I wish I had a week where I could just sit home and do nothing,” she said just two weeks ago.

For Emma, it was one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for deals.

I suggested that Emma watch one of her 4,598 DVDs.

“I don’t feel like it,” she said.

I suggested that Emma go outside and get some sun.

“I don’t feel like it,” she said.

I suggest that Emma read a book.

“I don’t feel like it,” she said.

Then I remembered that Emma is supposed to read the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” for a Communications class she is taking this year.

I asked Emma if she had started reading that book yet.

“I’m going to go outside and get some sun,” Emma said.

I took that to mean that Emma has not begun reading the book. Call it a hunch.

When Emma’s summer began and she told me that she had to read “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I told her that she would enjoy the book.

“It’s very good, and the movie is also very good. Gregory Peck is in it,” I said.

“There’s a movie?” Emma asked in a tone that said, “So much for reading the book.”

I told Emma that there was indeed a movie but that she wasn’t going to watch it until she read the book.

Emma didn’t think that made much sense. I mean, why spend several days reading a book when you can watch the movie in an hour and a half?

I knew what Emma meant because I was once a young person and felt the same way that she does. But that still didn’t mean I was going to let her watch the movie until she read the book.

When I was in college, I once had to read “Moby-Dick” and considered renting the movie version (oddly enough, also starring Gregory Peck) and popping it into a DVD player and watching it.

Actually, I didn’t do that and you want to know why? Because DVD players didn’t exist back then and neither did VCR players. Instead, I sat down the minute I was assigned “Moby-Dick” and started reading.

HAHAHAHAHA. I mean it, sometimes I kill myself.

No, what I did was wait until the day before the test to start reading, which was sort of a mistake because Herman Melville really liked talking about whales. I was nothing but a dedicated, if procrastinating, student. I opened “Moby-Dick” that day, took the test the next day, got an A and promptly forgot everything about the book.

That’s college.

My point is, if I had to read “Moby-Dick” when I was in college, then Emma can read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in high school. In my mind, it’s only fair.

And while Emma is reading “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I think I’ll go rent a DVD.

I’m thinking I’ll get “Moby-Dick.”

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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