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Grandfather Whoop Ass

by Gene Miller


Two weeks ago today, Gammie and Papa, Betty and I, stopped by the kids’ house to just say, “Hello.”

We walked into the family room to a somber mood.  My daughter, Michelle, was a storm cloud.  Son-in–law, Randy, downtrodden.  “What’s going on--- somebody die?”  Betty asked.

Michelle handed me a smattering of papers and nodded to the Grandson’s bedroom upstairs. “Your grandson doesn’t have a clue,” she said.

She continued with, “Ryan just came home from school and announced,  ‘I’m failing five of my six classes.  This is the last week of school.  Graduation is in two weeks.  There is no way to catch up.  I’m not going to graduate.   I’m going to quit school.  I’m eighteen years old and I can do that.’”

“Wow!’ I said. “What’s the plan?” 

Michelle responded, “Well, he’s been lying to us about completing his assignments.  He’s gotten smarty about obeying us.  His room is a pit.  We’re not paying for summer school or another semester of school in the fall.  We’re not supporting a dropout.  Your Grandson is a pain in the ass.  I guess that he will need to get a job and move out.”

“I’m so sorry. Good luck with that. Let us know what we can do to help,” I said.  Gammie and Papa left.

The drive home went something like this---“That was something.” “Yep.” “A real shame.”  “It is.” “What’s he thinking?”  “Not thinking.” What’s he going to do?” “Join the Navy, like his brother.” “Can’t---no high school diploma.” “Get a job.” “At the burger place?”  “I guess.” “ Where’s he going to live?” “Not at our house!”  “Let’s go back!”

We had a Come-to-Jesus meeting in the living room, just Gammie and Papa and one smart-ass eighteen year old.

“What the hell have you been doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Repeat of last semester’s English, 48%---this semester’s English, 45%---Economics, 59%---Advanced Photography, 44%---Personal Finance, 43%. Your favorite class, Engineering, 71%.  I repeat, what the hell have you been doing?”

“I don’t like you talking to me like this.”

“We don’t care what you like.”

“ I want to quit.”

“You can’t quit.”

“Why not?”

“Because I said so.  If you were my son, like your Uncle Rob, I would be blistering your butt with a strap right about now!”

“You can’t do that!”

“Don’t try me!”

You get the picture.


A review of the papers presented earlier showed that the low grades were mostly due to “missing” work.  Somebody apparently decided that high school seniors are not required to turn in assignments.

“Where are all these assignments you haven’t completed?” I said. 

“Upstairs, I guess,” Ryan mumbled. “Some, I lost or threw away.”

“Where are you going, Dad?” 

“Upstairs with Ryan!”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to sit on his ass until graduation!” I said.

We spent the next six hours together, Ryan at the computer working on last semester’s English and Grandfather Whoop Ass in a chair right behind him.

“How you doing?”

“Humph, OK.”

“Need any help?”

“Humph, No.”

“Need to pee?”



The next day a full page email went out to all teachers and the school counselor, saying, in part, “Last evening I was shocked to learn that my Grandson, Ryan, is failing five of his six classes, including yours.  I need to know----exactly----what Ryan needs to do to pass your class.”

Responses were not encouraging.  “I’ve talked to Ryan many times, but he has yet to turn in his work”...“Disappointing to all involved”...“He has been sitting on his senior paper for months”...“He didn’t read the novel assigned.”  Everyone agreed to accept late work for partial credit.  None thought that there would be success.  They didn’t know about Grandfather Whoop Ass.

The next five days were a marathon.  Six hours were allotted every night after school, Ryan at his desk, Papa at the chair behind.  Early morning emails were sent each day.  Progress was reported and confirmation of completed work tallied.  “Lost” papers found or replaced.

On Monday, finals week began.  Amazingly, all classes showed passing grades.

Ryan stormed into the house at three-thirty.  “I failed the Economics final!” he yelled.

“How can that be? You turned in all of the “finals pre-test” work and studied for the final,” I said.

“No I didn’t!” he said.  “I thought I could make a good enough grade without it.”

“You lied to your grandfather?…your grandfather!” I yelled. “Who do you think you are you little #@*& ?”

The phone rang and Son-in-Law Randy said, “Ryan’s home; he failed a final.  Yes, his Grandfather is reaming him out again right now.”

Another six hours later the work was completed.   Ryan wrote an apology letter to the teacher. An email, confirming that the late work would be accepted for a passing grade credit was sent.  The rest of the finals were passed.

Tomorrow morning Ryan will receive his high school diploma. His parents and grandparents will be in attendance.  Ryan still doesn’t have a clue; however, Grandfather Whoop Ass will be smiling.