Oh, The Places You'll Go

'My Family', by Charlie McCall

Notes: He's such a good little guy.

It's the start of a new school year, so you know what that means. It means another sucky paper to write so that the teachers can slap a grade on you quicker than you can spit. 'My Family'. God! What is it with teachers? Can't they come up with anything better? Like 'Transformers: Are those robots really in disguise? Discuss'. But no. The only assignment that sucks more is 'What I Did In My Vacation'. I mean, I'm in 6th grade here people, show some imagination. And what exactly did Mrs Fenster mean when she said write it as if you're talking to a total stranger? Like I'm going to spill my guts about my folks to some guy off of the street. Not going to happen. But it's a grade, right? And I'm Charlie McCall, obedient to the last. So here goes nothing.

My family by Charlie McCall

My mom's name is Lisa and my dad's name is Casey. They met in college and got married after five years. I came along pretty soon after. Believe me when I say I don't want to go there. We lived in a few places because of Dad's job, but the first one I remember was Dallas. We had a cool house with a huge yard. I had a blue swingset. I can remember it being real important that it was blue, I don't know why now. Mom and Dad wanted to get the green one because it would fit better, or something, but Uncle Danny persuaded them to get blue. I played for hours on that swingset until I fell off one time when Dad was supposed to be supervising me and sprained my wrist. It hurt a lot. Mom yelled so loud when she found out and I wasn't allowed back on the swing unless she was standing right by me. She didn't have a lot of time to play. The house needed a lot of looking after, she said. My wrist got better. We moved to New York.

When we came here my dad started working for a show that didn't go on until 11pm. You've probably heard of it, it's called 'Sports Night'. It used to be on CSC, but now it's on QVN. My dad hosts it with Uncle Danny. It's a real good show but because it's on so late it means I don't get to see Dad much. Sometimes Mom tapes the show and lets me watch it over breakfast. Sometimes, if something awesome is happening, she lets me stay up and catch the beginning. It's way cool to see your dad on TV. He knows when I'm watching and always gives me this little signal to say hello and go to bed. I like that. Not the go to bed part. I'm old enough to stay up till midnight if I want. Uncle Danny signals me too. He started doing that a couple of years ago. I don't know if Dad knows.

I live with my Mom about three blocks from school. I can walk myself but I have a nanny who brings me everywhere like I was still five. Mom says I have to have a nanny because life is difficult as a lone parent and she doesn't have six hands. I don't understand how more hands would help. Sometimes I want to say if it's so tough being a single parent then why did you break up with my dad? And that she may think she's a single parent but I know I have two. Yeah, my mom and dad are divorced. Over two years now. It's not my fault. They just didn't love each other any more, so my dad moved into an apartment. It's a neat apartment. I have my own bedroom there and lots of cool stuff that mom won't let me have, like Final Fantasy IX. So it's not like I'm missing out or anything. I get to see Dad every week. Usually.

Everyone says I get my nose from my mom and my eyes from my dad. I don't know why they say that. It's my face. I got it from me. My mom is. My mom. Sometimes she's cool, sometimes she's not. She can be really funny, especially when she's making pancakes. She does all these stupid shapes and pretends to be the Swedish chef from the Muppets. She has a lot to do though, helping out with fund-raising and stuff, so it's important to understand that she can't entertain me all of the time. I'm lucky that I have my nanny to keep me company. Lots of kids in my position would just have to amuse themselves. My nanny's OK, I guess. It's not like I want to have a brother or anything.

My dad's a real great writer. And he's sports mad. He wants me to be sports mad too. I think he wants me to play in the Major Leagues or something. He likes tough guy sports. That makes me laugh because I know he used to take gymnastics. Uncle Danny told me. Real tough guy, huh? I like sports but I'm no good. I know Dad loves me anyway. Maybe I'll be a great writer too. Just like him. And Uncle Danny. But I won't work on a sports show. I'll write a film about robot space pirates and a small band of humans who learn to work together to fight against their enemy. They'll win. Or the robots will smash their ship into tiny bits and eat them one by one. I haven't decided. But it will win lots of awards and I'll make tons of money and then I'll give some to Mom's charities so she won't have to work so hard and I'll give some to Dad so he can buy the cabin he keeps daydreaming about and some to Uncle Danny so he can stop working and write his book. When he comes in to say goodnight he tells me about it. It's a good book. He should so write it.

Uncle Danny isn't a real uncle. I haven't got any real ones. I do have all my grandparents, an auntie and two cousins but I don't see them much so I don't have anything to write about them. But Uncle Danny's been there my whole life so he's pretty much family whether he likes it or not. He's my dad's best friend. Sometimes I wish he could be mine too. He doesn't treat me like a little kid and he doesn't mind if I don't understand all the rules of football and his lips don't get tight when I talk about either of my parents. He takes care of me. He takes care of Dad too. They think I don't see it, but I do. I'm a kid but I'm not stupid. Nothing wrong with my eyesight (see, I can't have my dad's eyes, he wears contacts). When my parents were still together they weren't happy. They didn't yell a lot, but they weren't happy. I think my dad is happy now. Because of Uncle Danny. I think I'm supposed to think that's weird. But I don't. I'm glad.

So that's pretty much it – my family in a nutshell (though I guess it would have to be a very big nut). Mom, Dad and Uncle Danny. Hope you were taking notes, stranger, because I just read it through and no way am I handing this in, grade or no grade.

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My Family by Charlie McCall

My Mom is called Lisa. She has blonde hair...

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