I'll Do It Later

Suddenly I admired a quality my dad possessed that I clearly lacked—preparation.
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The moment Mr. Cooper* launched into the explanation of our next essay assignment, my eyes glazed over and my mouth fell open in a gigantic yawn. I leaned forward, resting my chin in the palm of my hand.

I half-heard Mr. Cooper utter the phrase "worth a big chunk of your grade," and I knew I should be paying closer attention. But with June just around the corner, it was impossible to stay focused on school. All I could think about were camping trips, soccer games and endless mornings of sleeping in.

The bell rang, snapping me out of my trance.

"Due in two weeks!" Mr. Cooper shouted over the noisy rush to the door.

Good, I thought. I have a lot of time before I have to even think about this project.

That evening when Dad got home from work he asked how school was.

"Mr. C. assigned another essay," I said with a sigh as I headed to the kitchen for a snack.

"Wow. I bet you can't wait to get started on it!" Dad teased, knowing my tendency to procrastinate.

"Very funny," I answered, reaching for the chips. "I'll do it eventually."

"Between school, sports and youth group, your schedule is pretty crazy," Dad said. "Waiting till right before it's due can make your life tough—especially if you encounter unexpected issues at the last minute."

"Issues?" I asked.

"Yeah, like you could get sick," Dad said. "Or have other homework stack up on you. I'm just saying it's wise to build in some 'cushion time.'"

I rolled my eyes.

Cushion time? Whatever. I had it under control.

The night before the paper was due I read over the assignment. I had to write about my role model. I sat down to think about who I admired. Through the years I had looked up to a few of my teachers and coaches. But it was my dad who immediately sprang to mind. He had so many admirable qualities. He was honest, hard-working, caring and kind. And above all, he treated everyone with respect. Sure, Dad had his flaws—like always giving me the same tired advice!—but he was still pretty cool.

I started to write my paper and it was really slow going. I had a killer case of writer's block that only intensified as I stared at the clock. But slowly the sentences started trickling out of my head and onto the computer screen.

Time ticked on. I rubbed my burning, bloodshot eyes and squinted to read the digital clock across the room: 3 a.m. Ugh! What I wouldn't give for a quick catnap. But there was no time for that.

As I reached for my third Mountain Dew of the night, I sat back in my chair and sighed. I was so tired, but I only had to write the concluding paragraph. I pressed my fingers to the keyboard but the cursor didn't move. The screen was frozen. A wave of terror rushed over me as I realized that in my groggy, fuzzy-minded state, I had forgotten to save my work.

This can't be happening! I panicked. Please, God! Don't do this to me!

I tried rebooting, but my file was irretrievable.

I pounded my fist in frustration.

Why is God putting me through this? I thought. Then in a flash my Dad's voice rang in my head: "You might encounter unexpected issues." A fried computer would certainly fall under the "unexpected" category.

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