May 24, 2011
By Jeong Seo BRONZE, Carrollton, Texas
Jeong Seo BRONZE, Carrollton, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My buddy Zach was all-state his freshman year with dreams of playing Major League Baseball. Lizzie had a 4.0 and was on path to graduate at the top of her class. Then there was Lance, he had the lead role in every school play and had aspirations to end up in Hollywood. As for me, all I wanted was a car.

“You can’t always get what you want” was the euphemized reply from my parents when I asked them to make a rather costly investment for their sixteen-year old son. However, I did not complain nor ask why. Unlike many other suburban sixteen-year olds, I was well aware of the fact that one could obtain funds without having to inquire his family members. Likewise, I was also aware that if one happened to be in a situation where he wasn’t required to pay for housing, food, bills, etc. (i.e. living with parents), he could accumulate a decent amount of funds in his savings in a relatively short amount of time; funds decent enough to purchase a used automobile.

Equipped with such groundbreaking knowledge and the desire to be behind the wheel, I was on a mission. The autumn of my sixteenth birthday was one of servitude. For starters, it was my first season of varsity football. Needless to say, a plethora of my time and aforementioned servitude was given to my coaches. Although they were demanding and fatiguing, such services were obviously unpaid. I mention my time on the field because it was the biggest obstacle to my mission: No employer in their right mind would hire a sixteen year old boy with no experience or looks who was on a varsity football schedule. With that said, just like the speed bumps underneath the tires of my then imaginary car; I knew it was an obstacle that would only delay my mission rather than devastate it.

My aforementioned autumn of servitude did not end on the football field. As a matter of fact, the gridiron was just the beginning of my labor. I spent weekends mowing lawns and flirting with heat strokes. In addition to cash, I learned a rather valuable life lesson from mowing those lawns: Always wear goggles while edging. Although the money I made from my independent landscaping business did not last, the scar under my right eye sure did.

Unfortunately, a sixteen year old high school student was no match for experienced gentlemen with business cards and several well-trained employees riding in the beds of pickup trucks. Needless to say, my independent landscaping business could not compete in the local market and my clients were limited to friends and neighbors. Therefore, I searched for additional sources of income. For instance, I raided David Romaine’s closet and “borrowed” the fancy clothes that he never wore. Although at the time I had no clue the difference between Ralph Nader and Ralph Lauren, the people on eBay and at Plato’s Closet sure did. In addition, as if my antics could get any more immoral, I put on a facade as an individual who loves children and pets (which could not be further from the truth) so I could be paid to take care of people’s children and pets. They say the world is a stage, and I was pleased to play my part.
Before the blink of an eye, I was six months into my sophomore year and four months past sixteen. Football season had ended, grass had stopped growing, my sunburns and scars had healed, David’s closet had become impoverished, and people no longer trusted me with their children and pets (and rightfully so). However, my little piggy bank had become a massive boar; massive enough to buy a 1996 Toyota 4Runner from a private seller whom I had met on the internet. Five thousand dollars, it was all mine and I never wanted anything more. When I finally got those four wheels underneath me, I was Richard Petty winning the Daytona 500. It was more than just an automobile. It was the two and a half ton fruit of my labor. It was independence. It was responsibility. It was maturity. It was all I wanted.
As impressive as all that sounds, let it be clear that I am no Superman. I could not have accomplished any of that without help. Indeed, I got a great boost from the fact that I completely neglected my schoolwork during the process. School hours were for play, and play hours were for work. As one can assume by the rushed and erroneous content in this very essay, such neglect has remained prevalent.
To this day my 4Runner runs like new. I am eighteen years young and retired from the oh-so prestigious Creekview football program. I have found a rather more legitimate source of income at Lowe’s Home Improvement and I work more hours than the average school teacher. After a full day of loading soil and pulling carts I am TIREd and EXHAUSTed as ever. However, I still do not complain nor ask why and the school work remains neglected. I suppose some things just don’t ever change. Actually, I take that back. One thing has changed: I no longer need to ask anyone for a ride.

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