Thursday, January 20, 2005

PPB, Part Whatever: The Penultimate Installment

Okay, so the son ... he goes off to grad school. I know some of you will be relieved to hear that it was a two-year program. He struggles a bit during the first year, but ... amazingly ... yes, I know this story is amazing ... he makes straight A's again his first year of grad school. The wear of the grind of all of these straight-A gift years has worn on Dad. He's lost a bit of the ol' spring in the step, you might say. So, he just calls up. By the way, these people are from California. The son was going to Berkeley. Figures. So, Dad just says, "Okay, what'll it be ... 50,000 ping pong balls?" Son laughs, "Dad, I understand you have always wondered about me, and that would be what you would expect. ... This year, though, I would like only 40,000 ping pong balls." Click. But ... Dad sent the ping pong balls. Next year, after his graduation from grad. school, Dad decided to pay the son a visit in person, to finally get down to ... what was this ... this dreadful mystery. So, Dad pulled up at the apartment and just went into the son's apartment unannounced, thinking that perhaps he might get a small gander at something, anything that would shed some light on this mystery. So, Dad flung open the door, and came in. Son, was at his desk, reading mail. Nothing was there, though. No table. No paddles. Not even any sign of the balls. Dad: "Son, this year ... I have got to do something for you, anything really but ... I mean, I can't do enough. Could you ..." Son: "Dad, I understand. You've been great. I mean, I couldn't have gotten this far without you. The gifts each year. The support. I mean, would it be too much to dream big, to go for the limit, to try for, indeed, to ask for something new, now that I have a master's degree and have yet to feel the sting and stain of one solitary "B"? Dad: "Absolutely not, Son. Anything." Son: "Great, Dad. Because this year, I would like to break the six-figure threshold, and ask for 100,000 ping pong balls. Great, huh?" Dad stares in stunned silence. Son: "Dad, I know it's a bit much, but ... I really would appreciate it." And then, turning to his mail, the Son says, "Hey Dad, check it out. Been accepted to the Ph.d. program at Harvard!".

Next week ... Please tune in for the thrilling conclusion: "Ph.d?!?!!!! What the *#@#*#!"