Last week I learned we were to write an informal essay to hand in Monday. Well, I
"THE BEST LAID PLANS O' MICE AND MEN"
tried to think of a subject a full week in advance; I tried to think of one Tuesday.
Wednesday, after walking a mile home through the wet and chill of poorly cleaned
sidewalks, I decided to write on the "Noble Art of Shoveling Snow." Then, after I myself
had cleared quite a stretch of walk I somehow lost interest in such a theme. Therefore
Thursday I again thought in vain for a topic. Friday, during a heavy snow, I decided to
write upon that white, cottony substance. Saturday, when I saw that same snow--slushy
and covered with soot, I lost heart. And before I realized it, Sunday had rolled around
with no essay having been written--not even a topic decided upon. On Sunday Church
took up the morning hours; dinner, the early afternoon. "Well," I thought, "I'll listen to
Father Coughlin, Big Ben, and Hollywood over the radio. No use trying to write when
they are on the air anyway. Besides, maybe they will give me an idea. If they don't, Eddie
Cantor surely will. Then I can scratch off that essay this evening after lunch." But, "as with
the best laid plans o' mice and men," this carefully planned schedule received a last minute
set-back. My aunt had company, and a late luncheon--one of those meals that you sit
around the table for fifteen to thirty minutes after finishing. Then, to my dismay, I learned
that my essay was no reason for "leave of absence" from dish washing. I wonder if
Addision, or Pricilla Wayne, or Arthur Brisbane ever had such a set-back at that. I wonder
if they ever had such a difficult time in keeping the tears back--and for the same reason as
I had. I saw visions of another essay handed in late; visions of a "D" grade on an otherwise
good paper; visions of a teacher's reproachful look.
However, when one washes dishes with a good-looking, though rather conceited
boy of the sophmore class at aristocratic Roosevelt High School drying said dishes, one
blinks back the tears. For it would never do for a high school youngster to see his co-ed
cousin washing the dishes in tears.
Being concerned over my essay, I, of course, speeded up the dish washing and the
only other young person in the house, a boy in junior high school, was called on to help
dry the dishes. Two boys in a kitchen will either promote laughter or anger. Since it is
much easier to grin than to growl, I soon found my tears were dried away. They sang--no,
they tried to sing; they danced, they wise-cracked; they broke a glass; only half dried the
dishes; and, finally, after I had escaped, they had a towel battle, which was stopped only
by intervention of parental authority. Never-the-less the dishes were finished and I fled to
my room to write my essay upon the topic "Dish Washing." Yet, "like the best laid plans o'
mice and men" the results were far different from those anticipated.
English I 10
Jan. 15, 1934
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