Summer vacation is supposed to be a joyous time for children and parents alike. Backpacks are thrown into closets and alarm clocks are unplugged, but that joy is suddenly stolen within minutes of the summer dismissal bell ringing. That joy is stolen by the dirtiest “B” word of all- boredom.
Annie Tanner, mother of 10-year-old Todd, says she’s had enough.
“I spoil my son rotten all summer with trips to the water park, ice-cream cones and day camps, but as soon as I pick him up and he parks his butt in the car after a fun-filled day, he moans that he is bored! I knew I had to do something!”
Tanner set a “Boredom Jar” in the family room of her home. Each time Todd whined about having nothing to do, he was forced to pick a chore from the jar.
“At first I wrote down simple things like clean the kitchen and mow the yard,” Tanner said, “but Todd complained about being bored so often that he completed all of the chores in the bowl before the second day of summer vacation! The house was spotless, there was no grass left to cut and he even aligned my tires, but that didn’t stop him from being bored as soon as he was done with the chores! I knew I had to up the ante!”
So Tanner placed a slip of paper in the empty bowl with instructions to clean the entire town.
“After he ate his Toaster Strudel at noon and played Call of Duty for a few hours on the third day of summer vacation, he had the audacity to complain about being bored. When he picked the slip of paper from the jar with instructions to clean the entire town, his spirit was crushed. I didn’t have pity on him, though. I sent him out with a grabber and a garbage bag and told him not to come home until the town was spotless.”
Apathy, IL has a total of 49.5 square miles, the majority of which is covered with litter due to the frequent carnivals and biker fests that take place here. The south side of town, known by locals as “Ratsville”, is particularly overrun with discarded food, used prophylactics and flyers promoting new underground albums that will “drop soon”.
Sam Dillon has lived in Ratsville for twelve years and says he’s ecstatic that his neck of the woods is being thoroughly cleaned.
“I mean, I probably could have picked up the whiskey bottles and car parts from the ditch by my house at some point over the years, but I’ve been too busy living my life to the fullest and hosting Open Mic Nite down at Shots in the Dark Bar. But, I tell you what, the whole community of Ratsville is awful glad to see this little fella out here killing cockroaches and removing graffiti and mowing the meth lab’s lawn. I sure hope he gets rid of that sectional on the curb.”
A spokesperson at Apathy Waste Management says the waste removal company is aiding Todd Tanner any way they can. They’ve cleared a spot in the landfill for him to dump the mounds of garbage and Big Wheels that he collects every day.
Residents have offered the boy meals, Clorox refills and hand sanitizer as compensation for his work.
Annie Tanner says she’s glad her son is being productive, but most importantly that she hasn’t heard the “B” word since he left home several weeks ago.
“I haven’t seen him since last Tuesday when he was picking up diapers and cigarette butts in the Circle K parking lot. I asked how he was doing, and he didn’t once mention that he was bored.”
We caught up with Todd disposing of hypodermic needles in the Sleep Good Motel parking lot and he says he’s learned his lesson.
“I really wish I was playing baseball right now,” he sniffled. “I’ll never tell my mother I’m bored again.”