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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: The Procrastination Gene
By Laury Hubrich


Sally stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking up for some divine inspiration as she yelled at her son. “Robbie, get down here and do your homework.”

Muffled sounds came from the closed bedroom door. “Mo-om, it's Friday. I'll do it tomorrow.”

“Clean your room, then.”


“Remember, your dad wants you to shovel the sidewalk before Grams and Gramps get here.”

“Yeah, Mom, I'll get right on that.”


Sally faced her husband. “I don't know if I can do this anymore, Greg. Robbie's got to learn that he has to get things done. More than that, he's got to do what we say. He's not showing us any respect.”

“Honey, I know, but I think this will work.”

“What if it doesn't? He'll rule the house.”

“Trust me, my parents perfected this method. They raised me, Sally. They've been through all this. Did you forget? Robbie has it in his genes.”

“Ah, yes, the procrastination gene. I'm so glad Sammi is like me. Okay, we'll do it your way but I'm not sure I'm going to like this.”

“Here's what we're going to do...”


“Robbie, we're picking up Grams and Gramps soon.”

“I know, Sammi. Get out, will ya?”

“Your room's a mess. How can you play video games all day long?”

“Hmmm… Is supper ready?”

“Mom said not yet. Maybe later.”

“Maybe later? Whatever. Just call me when it's ready.”


“Robbie! Time to go.”

“Huh? What? Be down in a second.”

“So, 'Brains Of This Operation,' how long do we wait?”

“We don't. He's shown us all day that he's not moving. Sammi, remember we're using the back door.”

Sammi stood rubbing her back. “Dad, how could I forget?”

Hunger pains won out as Robbie tore himself away from the TV screen. He stepped over a pile of dirty clothes and hopped over his backpack full of homework waiting to be done. Robbie bent over to dodge his basketball hoop that had a wet towel hanging from it then stubbed his toe on his football spikes that he never got around to putting away. This made him pop his head up and get slapped in the face with cold reality--the wet towel. “Sammie's right. This room is messy.”

“Mom,” Robbie called. “Sammie? Dad? Anybody home?” The house stood quiet. He flipped on the hallway light. “Mom? I'm hungry.” He started down the steps, then stopped and swallowed hard. Hanging from the banister were winter coats and wet socks and mittens. Clothes were haphazardly thrown on the steps. He stepped high to detour the mess and squeaked out a half-hearted, “Daddy?”

The front room was no better. Dirty dishes sat on the coffee table. Beside his dad's recliner was at least a week's worth of newspapers. His mom's chair had coupon clippings scattered about and Sammie's homework was on the floor.

Robbie raced to the front door but when he opened it snow tumbled around his feet. To his utter amazement he was face-to-face with a wall of snow. “What’s going on? I must be losing my mind.” He plopped down on a nearby chair and put his head in his hands. After a few minutes he started giggling and laughed even harder when he snorted.

“God, Mom and Dad are trying to teach me a lesson, right? All I've been doing is playing video games. I haven't done what they asked me to do. They must think I don't respect them or You. I'm sorry, Lord.”

Robbie went to the backdoor where he found a shovel with a note on it that said, 'Get to work, Son.' He shoveled the snow away from the door and on down the sidewalk. As soon as the sidewalk was cleared he heard the van drive up. He ran as best as he could in snow boots and gave his parents a bear hug. “I'm so sorry. Will you forgive me?”

Greg looked at Sally with an 'I told you so' look. “Of course we do.”

Robbie hugged his grandparents. “Gramps, what's up with the beard?”

“Well, I've been meaning to shave but just haven't had the time.”

“Robbie, we need to talk about a procrastination gene we men were born with but first we have a mess to clean up.”

“Dad, I can’t believe Mom let you trash the house just to teach me a lesson. And blocking the door with snow? Now that’s a classic! Not only are you guys messy but you’re crazy!”

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This article has been read 934 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/10/08
All who have the "procrastination gene" can identify with the problem and chuckle at the solution in this story, and everybody can just enjoy the read.
Patty Wysong01/10/08
Ok, I'll admit it: I have the procrastination gene--now please promise not to do this to me!! :)

I really like this--I'll have to try this on my kids! Good one!! :) :) Hugs! (sure hope you are who I think you are! lol)
Sally Hanan01/10/08
Ingenious. Did you ever pull this on your kids?
Sara Harricharan 01/11/08
ROFL! I think my entire family can relate to this one. My older bro in particular. LOL. Love the lesson here and the classic example. The wall of snow was hilarious, I was laughing by the time I got there. Great job with this! SO on topic! ^_^
Dee Yoder 01/11/08
Hey, my son has that gene, too! His dad has put his games away in a box more than once until the room gets cleaned, etc. Funny read and realistic, in a house with teens anyway!
Pam Richards01/12/08
I enjoyed your entry very much--very inventive.
Joanne Sher 01/13/08
Clever and fun. Very creative take on "the procrastination gene" remedy.

I don't feel like you need the last paragraph - it kind of made the ending sizzle, at least in my opinion.

I could have used this "remedy" when I was a teen! Keep writing.
Rita Garcia01/14/08
You held my interest and pulled me right into this delightful story! Right on topic!
Debbie Wistrom01/14/08
So right on, I'm so glad RObbie got the message! This moved like I was in the family, enjoyed it very much.
Ann Renae Hair01/14/08
Ouch. My son inherited this from many generations...not only procrastination, but clutter. Ugh. Delightful story I will share with my kids. I do believe this topic will be inspiring to re-read before spring cleaning. Well done.
Catherine Pollock01/14/08
I loved this story - very nicely done. I have to say my favorite part was the snow blocking the door, because I've seen that done fairly recently. I just had to laugh.
Jan Ackerson 01/14/08
Excellent! Love the family dynamics here--they obviously love each other a great deal, and you've made their dialogue very realistic.

Consider ending it right when Grandpa says "Well, I've been meaning to shave but I just haven't had the time." That's a great punchline, and it ties in well with your title.

Cute story--I like the piled-up snow and the note.
Temple Miller01/14/08
Oh, I loved this story. You wove in the topic with love and laughter. Great characters and wonderful dialogue. Very creative solution for procrastination, too.
Janice Cartwright01/14/08
I got it too and I don't know who gave it to me. Mom and Dad both embrace the do things before they need doing idealogy. Where did I come from?

Boy that must have been a lot of trouble making such a big mess. But it was worth it and a neat way to bring home the stitch in time lesson. Really cute story.
Catrina Bradley 01/15/08
Very fun story! I'm not sure how messing up the whole house helped with his lesson, but I loved picturing his look of shock. I also love the snow at the front door.
LauraLee Shaw01/18/08
I love this story!!!! I don't know if I have this gene or not, but I certainly need some sort of 12-step program for my problem in this area. Very well done.