Some hunters are heading up north. On the way they see a sign posted: HUNTING DOG AVAILABLE. They stop and ask the owner how much.
“Twenty dollars a day," the owner says. The dog, Reporter, turns out to be fabulous. He flushes out all kinds of game and retrieves it beautifully. The hunters agree it was money well spent.
The hunters come back every year and rent Reporter every time. Over the years, his price creeps up, but the hunters pay it, because he's worth it, even when the money gets pretty serious.
Then, one year, when they ask about Reporter, the owner says, "You can have him for $5.”
The friends are stunned. "Is this the same dog?" one says. "What happened to Reporter?“
“Reporter’s been ruined,” the owner says. “Last year I rented him out and some idiot called him Editor. Now he doesn’t do anything except sit on his ass and bark.”
John has his first report, on gazelles, due tomorrow. Having heard that other kids are printing off Web pages and highlighting the information they want to include in their report, I decided to try and help John learn about researching without printing off tons of pages.
"A good idea would be to make a list and think of what you want to learn about gazelles," I said.
We brainstorm a bit, and I realize reporting, like everything else, really does have to be learned. I also realize that it is kind of a huge pain in the butt to have me as a mom. He was hoping to hit a few of the Web pages provided by the teacher, pull out a fancy yellow highlighter, and troll the Internet for photos of gazelles. I'm sitting here asking him what he wants to know about gazelles that he doesn't know already, showing him how to take notes (don't write down all the words!) and organize his questions. Tuh! Bo-RING!
As we are wont to do in such situations, we started using this as an opportunity to push each others buttons a couple times, bringing him to frustrated near-tears and me to visions of C-minuses all through high school. Finally John put his pencil down, scowled at me, and snapped, "WHY do you have to be a reporter when we do this? WHY can't you just be a plain old MOM?"
"Editor" was clearly what he was aiming at.