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The Green Golfball Story, As told collectively by the Naquam Tribe of South Carolina
There was this kid named Joe. Well, I say he's a kid but actually he was about 23. And still in high school. He was finally to his senior year in high school. Up until this point he had never actually passed a class, but the school he went to decided at 23, it's time to become a senior. He wasn't dumb or anything, he was just a slacker and proud of it. He had a reputation around the school and he planned on keeping it. This is not to say he had friends. Well one friend, Bill, but that's a different story. Or later in this story. One year he made straight 11's. Another year he made a 1, 4, 9, 16. The one year he made a 17, 18, 19,... 21. The teacher just had to give him a pity point and ruin the pattern.
Joe was kicked out of public high school a while back. He made it into a private school because his parents made a large donation. He came from a rich family, but Joe never got to see any of it. His parents couldn't bare to see Joe not graduate high school, and there was no way they were going to have him live with them for the rest of his life. No, he was going to graduate high school, get any job he could, move out, and make a life for himself. That was the plan anyways, but it wasn't going so well. The private school wanted more and more money to keep Joe in, and it looked like this year was their last chance to get Joe a diploma. It might have even been impossible, he had 6 more 6 week terms to go and no credits to his name.
Things were getting pretty desperate, so his parents decided to give him some motivation. "Okay Joe, we just want you to make one D. We don't care about any of your other classes or the rest of the year. We just want you to make one D and show that you can not get an F in a class. If you can get that one D, we'll give you 20 dollars." Joe was intrigued with the offer. On one hand, that D might ruin his slacker reputation. He spent a long time so why break it now. On the other hand, it was 20 dollars. In the end he decided he would just go for one D. One D wouldn't ruin his reputation or anything, and it still wasn't passing. No harm done, and he would get the 20 dollars out of the deal.
The 6 weeks came to an end and he got his report card. Well I guess I have to explain the grading system first. This private school went on the 10 point scale. 90-100 is an A, 80-89 is a B, 70-79 is a C, 60-69 is a D, and 50 and below was an F. D's and F's were considered failing. And there were no E's. Definitely no E's. Anyways, he got his report card. One 8, one 16, one 32, and.... one 64 a D.
So he showed his parents his report card. They were really excited to see him get at least one D, and gave him his 20 dollars. But he said no, and gave it back. "I just want as many green golf balls as 20 dollars can buy." His parents were really confused and thought he was joking. But he insisted and they were so happy that he were making some progress that they immediately went out and found $20 worth of golf balls.
Mind you, green golf balls are not easy to find. It turns out that grass is green so golf places don't really sell too many green golf balls. But eventually they got a bucket full of them and brought them home to Joe. Joe took the golf balls and shut the door. He didn't come out all night. They tried to go in and see what he was doing with the green golf balls, but he had locked the door. It was a little weird, but they were still celebrating Joe getting a D so they didn't worry about it too much.
The next couple of weeks passed slowly as Joe's parents relished their small victory. Thinking perhaps that Joe's grades would hold steady or climb further, they decided not to push him for the time being. Their plan was not finished and their curiosity about what Joe was doing in his room with several dozen green golfballs wouldn't be quenched just yet.
More than happy to be left alone, Joe enjoyed the green golfballs that a bit of non-slacking had afforded him. Occasionally meeting with his best friend Bill, Joe became even more introverted to his family. He began speaking less at meals, showing up late from school, and spending unusual amounts of time in his room with the green golfballs.
After two weeks though, Joe's grades held steady. He was on track for another D, two Fs, and one Incomplete this grading period ("Geology", Joe thought, "Is like the Motley Crue of the science world. Not even worth my time."). The progress reports floated in and Joe's parents decided that there had been enough of a wait. Confronting Joe upon his return from school one day they laid out their offer. "Listen Joe, we don't give you much money and we know that you must have things you want to buy or do that require money. So here's the deal. If you bring all of your grades up to Ds, and that means putting in some effort in Geology, we'll pay you fifty dollars."
Joe thought over the offer for several moments. He really was a smart kid. However, slacking, rather than high academic achieving was his calling and he had no intention of handing over his title to some wanna-be. For a few moments, Joe attempted to rationalize accepting the offer. It wouldn't be unthinkable to him to bring his grades up to Ds. Obviously his title as a slacker would still be there, and he would still be failing his classes. Also, fifty dollars was a good amount of money, and he had no other way of acquiring any at the moment. Still, Joe did not want to seem to eager to improve his academic work so much. It might give off the wrong impression.
"I thought you only wanted me to get one D and that the rest of the year didn't matter," he said.
"Listen Joe," his father responded, "We know you're a smart kid. You've shown that you can do more than what you're doing now. We're not asking much, and we know it might not happen right away, but we'd like you to try is all."
"Alright," Joe said finally. It was, afterall, fifty dollars.
Now, I really do need to stress this point, so I'm going to say it again; Joe really was a smart guy, so putting in a little extra work to mantain a D average really wasn't hard at all. He even managed to make a sort of game out of it and spread a rumor among students that he was cheating. Obviously if people thought he was cheating his reputation as a slacker would be intact. Since he wasn't doing anything wrong, however, there was no way he would get kicked out of high school (by graduation or expulsion). It was brilliant, fail all of your classes by fake cheating. Infamy would be Joe's by the end of the year, and fifty dollars within a few weeks.
By the end of the next grading period, Joe had straight Ds in all of his classes. When his parents recieved his report card, they called in their son to speak with him. Quite proud of his accomplishment but now becoming a bit suspicious of him now, they awarded him with his fifty dollars. "You've earned it," they said. Rather than just take the money, however, Joe merely said, "I'd rather have fifty dollars in green golfballs if you don't mind."
Taken aback, the father pressed him, "Joe, it's fifty dollars. You never have any money and you want to blow it on green golfballs?" Joe thought about it for a moment, "I'm not blowing it, I just have more use for green golfballs than money that I don't use anyway." A bit upset that he'd have to run around to try and find a store with fifty dollars in green golfballs, Joe's father grugingly agreed to his son's terms. "Green golfballs it is."