View Full Version : Zippy’s First Day of College, Sort Of

Hunter Nicholson
January 22nd, 2011, 07:31 PM
My son has never been good with directions. North, south, east and west mean absolutely nothing to Zippy. He can navigate a straight corridor but add a couple of intersecting halls and hes hopelessly lost. We learned early to draw simple maps with plenty of landmarks and arrows pointing the way.

The college campus, spread over six city blocks, was going to be his biggest challenge yet. We prepared for this hurdle the summer before his first day by taking bike rides around the property, jogging through the grounds, arranging various campus tours and studying the schools map. Short of sewing a GPS unit into his underwear, we had done everything we could as parents.

It clearly wasnt enough.

I was working from home on his first day of classes and shortly after eleven in the morning I got an S.O.S. call from his cell phone. Dad? Wasnt English 101 supposed to be in the Edison Building? My schedule says its in Room 503.

I couldnt help but laugh. Zippy, youre incorrigible!

He wasnt feeling the humour today. Whats that supposed to mean?

It means youd better find that class to youll learn what it means. I consulted a copy of the school map. Where are you now?

In the Edison building!

Isnt there any classrooms there?

Yeah, but its all labs.

Why dont you just ask someone? Im sure theyll point you in the right direction.

A sigh and a hushed voice, Dad! I dont want to look stupid!

Too late for that, I thought. Okay. It says on my copy that its in Room E503.

Thats where I am but theres no classes here!

Zippy, E stands for east, not Edison. Youre supposed to be in Walker Hall. Its across the street.


And it also says that the class was from ten till eleven. Youve already missed it. What have you been doing for the last hour?

Looking for the class! What do you think Ive been doing?

I wanted to say going around in endless circles but resisted. Well its too late now. Just go to your next class.

I heard him shuffle through some papers, maps presumably. Its an economics thing in a lecture hall. Oh yeah! Thats over at the Cisler Centre right?

Chalk one up for Zippy! Yes. Think you can get there on your own or should I come down there and hold your hand?

Ha ha ha. Youre just a laugh a minute, dad. Okay, Ill be home around five, see you then.

We hung up and I went back to writing my reports. At twelve-thirty, Zippy came in through the back door and slammed his books on the kitchen table where I was eating my lunch. What are you doing home? I asked, knowing full well what the problem was.

Screw it. Im not going to college.

That bad, huh?

You dont know the half of it. You know that lecture hall I was telling you about. Well, it turned out to be a fourth year sexual anatomy class.

Oh, God!, I laughed, What did you do.

What else could I do? I didnt want to look stupid by walking out so I stayed.

I laughed even harder. Please tell me you learned something!

Its not funny, dad. So to hell with this crap. Im not going back.

I got myself under control. The poor kid had suffered enough for one day. Okay, Okay. Lets just see if theres something we can do. Does the handbook say anything about it?

I dunno. I never read it.

Zippy! The least you could do . . . oh forget it. Lets check the college website. Im sure youre not the first person to get turned around on his first day. Its a big campus, after all.

Yeah, okay. I guess.

It took most of an hour but we found out that the college provided freshmen with a buddy system with senior students. The senior classes started two weeks later than all others allowing them time to be partnered with the freshmen. Had Zippy tried this on his own three months ago hed be in class right now. As it was, late, he had a choice of only two seniors.

That sucks. He said frowning.

Why? You can still get a buddy.

Look at their pics, dad. A total geek or an obese librarian chick.

Zippy! Thats extremely rude! I wanted to slap him upside the head. Keep talking like that and youll find yourself with no friends and no college funds.

No college funds?

Smarten up, Seth. Im not going to spend a small fortune to educate a bigot.

He at least had the decency to look guilty and ashamed. Sorry, dad. Im tired and fed up.

Apology accepted. Now, why dont you select one and set it up. Its either that or Im going to buy you a white cane and a guide dog.

He chose Agnes, who wasnt a librarian but rather a political science major, and with her help was able to navigate the college campus with no further crisiss.

I kept her number and planned to invite her to Zippys graduation in four years time. Not because they had become bosom buddies but because Zippy had no chance of finding the graduation ceremony on his.

Poor Zippy. A compass hasnt been invented that he can operate. But we still have high hopes that someday, when hes all grown and moved out, hell remember the route to come back home for a visit now and then.

January 23rd, 2011, 04:19 PM
I enjoyed this very much. Your characters were vivid and the humor of the situation was well expressed. I was able to see their personalites clearly as well as their great relationship to each other. Well done. The pace of your story was excellent and stayed right on target.

It reminded me of my granddaughter. She has always been one who is turned around backwards. Guess where she works on her college campus? The INFO booth. Seriously.

Nice work, Hunter, lots of fun


Hunter Nicholson
January 23rd, 2011, 04:40 PM
Thanks apple! Your comments are greatly appreciated.

January 23rd, 2011, 04:46 PM
Oh dear! How I feel for the son here. I, too, suffer from this horrible affliction. :)

I truly enjoyed this story and thought your humor wonderful and all characters interesting and believable. Very good work.