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Fun project: how to make your mom flip

My Fifth Grade Science Fair Project

From the lab book of

Geoffrey "Dexter" Cannon

10 p.m.: Tell Mom and Dad I have a science fair project due tomorrow.

10:01: Watch Mom flip. Listen to Mom tell Dad that science fair projects are an excellent reason NOT to have children.

10:02: Listen to Mom give me standard lecture on the importance of doing things in a timely fashion.

Still 10:02: Promptly forget Mom's standard lecture on the importance of doing things in a timely fashion.

10:04: Get online with Dad and search for a cool experiment that involves blowing up things.

10:15: Find an experiment that shows you how to turn nails into magnets instead. Feel disappointed about not being able to blow up things tonight. But Dad says this experiment will be good, especially if I ever need to turn nails into magnets in real life.

10:16: Make a list of things I need to conduct my experiment: wire, electrical tape, a nail, paper clips and a small piece of wood. Listen to Dad tell Mom to find some of those useless "C" batteries she bought to prepare for the Y2K emergency.

10:20: Go with Dad to Fred Meyer to buy wire, electrical tape, a nail, paper clips and a small piece of wood.

11: Return home. Get batteries from Mom. Listen to Mom deliver her standard lecture on the importance of doing things in a timely fashion.

Still 11:00: Promptly forget Mom's lecture on the importance of doing things in a timely fashion.

11:05: Start following Dad's instructions. Place useless "C" batteries on wood. Strap useless "C" batteries to new piece of wood with new electrical tape from Fred Meyer.

11:06: Listen to Mom whine about how much she hates science fair projects. She hated them when she was in the fifth grade. She hates them now that I'm in the fifth grade.

11:07: Watch Dad show me how to coil wire around a nail. Do it for myself.

11:08: Watch Dad show me how to make a loop at the other end of the wire. Do it for myself.

11:10: Listen to Mom whine about how she wanted to do a science fair project involving genetics and gerbils when she was in the fifth grade, only her gerbils (too bad, so sad) kept eating each other.

11:15: Touch looped wire to positive end of useless "C" battery. Attempt to pick up paper clips with supposedly magnetized nail.

11:16: Listen to Mom say the only scientific law she believes in is the law of entropy, which holds that all systems left to themselves run toward a state of disorganization. The law of entropy describes her life, she says.

11:17: Nail does not pick up paper clips.

11:18: Try again, pal, Dad says.

11:19: Watch Mom flip. Listen to Mom tell Dad that it's not like any of this is original research. Batteries have already been invented. Magnets have already been invented. Electricity has already been invented. Can't we just lie and say our magnet worked?

11:20: Dad says it's important to do things right.

11:21: Mom says it's more important to go to bed before midnight.

11:22: Try to pick up paper clips with nail again.

11:23: Trying, trying, trying . . .

11:24: HE SHOOTS! HE SCORES! Mission accomplished! The Eagle has landed! Oh, yes! I am the MAN! I kick electro-magnetic butt! Dad and I give each other high fives! Mom yawns and says let's go to bed!

11:25: Dad tells me to fill out worksheet first. Worksheet asks what the purpose of the experiment was. Mom says it was to torture her.

11:26: Dad gives me a hint — to turn SOMETHING into SOMETHING.

11:27: I don't answer immediately. Mom says HELLO sit up and pay attention here, Buster! What have we been doing here for the last hour-and-a-half — wrapping duct tape around your father and trying to turn him into a woman?

11:28: OH! I GET IT! We've been trying to turn a NAIL into a MAGNET!

11:29: YES! says Mom. VERY GOOD! Now let's go to bed.

11:30: As we go upstairs, I hear my parents say that raising kids is like that line from Mom's favorite CW song: The road is long and the party never ends. Whatever THAT means.


E-MAIL: acannon@desnews.com