Lectures=BadThis is a trinket I’ve had for almost 10 years. While I was bussing tables in a restaurant, the most awesome-packed kid I’ve ever met was eating with his family. I was bussing the table next to them when I heard the boy say, “Whatever, Mom! It just doesn’t make sense.” I glanced over and saw that he must have been in 5th or 6th grade. I continued bussing when I heard him say, “All I want to do is play football! Why do I have to know what forty divided by four is?” What that boy didn’t know is that, earlier that year, Devin Hester ran the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds which alerted the Chicago Bears to draft him. Since then, Hester’s been selected for the Pro Bowl three times and he is currently one of the most feared kick returners in professional football. At the time, I didn’t think it was right for mere bussers to communicate with patrons, but if I had that situation to do over again, I would tell that boy, “Devon Hester knew what forty divided by four was, and that’s exactly why he is able to play in the NFL, right now.” I would tell that boy, “If you can figure out how to run forty yards in four seconds–that’s ten  yards every second–you’ll do more than play in the NFL; you’ll win gold metals in the Summer Olympics.” The boy would still be confused, and he’d probably still draw this picture on the white butcher paper that covered the table (which I ripped off and kept), but at least he would be interested enough to listen to his parents, or his teacher. At the time, however, I just knew that that little boy freakishly reminded me of myself when I was his age, so after I lifted my buss-tub to bring the dishes back to the kitchen, I intentionally walked by the family’s table and raised my hand toward the boy for a high-five. He slapped my hand almost instinctively. As I walked away I heard his mother whisper, “Go wash your hands!”


~ by russell jander on January 3, 2012.

One Response to “Understanding”

  1. Another good post, Russell. Hmm, even though I recycle everything I can, I suppose not many people would want to put this on their fridge.

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