How A Phone Charger Cost Malcolm His First Day Of School

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Ever heard of Chaos Theory? It stands for the principal that very small factors can have rather large long-term influences over things. (It is NOT, as some might suggest, used to describe the stain pattern on my pants.) Figuring prominently in Chaos Theory is the Butterfly Effect, whereby a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and causes a tornado in Texas. Sometimes, the smallest things can set off a chain reaction of events that have drastic consequences. (My version involves a crab farting in Japan leading to a tsunami in Singapore. Oddly, the analogy hasn’t stuck.) Here’s how chaos theory applies to our lives:

The Friday before Labor Day, Amy left her cell phone charger at work. This meant that the only way she could charge her phone over the weekend was to use the charging chord in our car. She tried over the weekend to get a new charger, but like the hermaphrodite and the eunuch on prom night, sometimes things don’t work out. Imagine Amy’s panic on Tuesday morning when she realized A) she had a conference call, B) the conference call would take place while she was riding to the airport, and C) her phone was dead. Springing into action, she took her phone out to the Prius, turned on the car, and crossed her fingers that the phone would get enough charge to last through her call. Luckily, it did and Amy happily spent her day talking on her phone while traveling to New York.

Tuesday was also Malcolm’s first day of school. Even though this week was “Orientation Week” where he was only going for a few hours a day, we have been talking about the week for past months, and he was excited. Excited doesn’t really even capture the energy by which he was looking forward to going to his new school. The word I would use is enthusiasticalbedazzled. Imagine my sense of disappointment, then, when we got in the car to go to school, only to find that the car was dead. Evidently, when you leave a Prius on for extended periods of time, the battery gets drained, a fact not considered by Amy or I in the planning process of our Tuesday.

One day, he'll miss his graduation because I forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste. I'm just not sure how...

I can tell you about the expletives Malcolm and I hurled Amy’s way upon discovery of all this, but it really wouldn’t do anyone any good. Luckily, the Prius was blocking the driveway, making our other car useless in our quest to get Malcolm to school. So, while Malcolm’s classmates were yucking it up together at the new student mixer, we waited for AAA, watched the guy jump start our car, and then drove around on the freeway for half an hour to recharge the battery. We missed our first day of school, and here is what I wrote to Malcolm’s school:

Dear Malcolm’s School, please excuse Malcolm from class on Tuesday. His parents are idiots. His car has a battery that only has enough voltage to power a flashlight. We will try to bring him to class tomorrow, but honestly, there is a lot that can go wrong, so I won’t make any promises. Kindly yours,


Somewhere there is a butterfly smiling (and a crab farting!). Beware of the consequences, people.


8 responses to “How A Phone Charger Cost Malcolm His First Day Of School”

  1. GretchenA says:

    I heard this story last night, and on behalf of Amy’s employers, I want to apologize to Malcolm. Please let him know that we recognize Amy’s dedication, and we will do our best to coach her on phone cord management.

  2. Debra Lilley says:

    please ask amy to watch this video that I use to educate people on the technology she works with – it talks about using your PC to charge all your phones, ipods etc, etc. Tell me what amy uses and I will even buy her one.

    • Amy says:

      Fabulous talk Debra! I love that analogy.

      It seems that I, too, am joining the 21st century – I bought a USB connector charger in New York. I suspect my computer will die soon or maybe it will just stain Paul’s pants.

  3. brad says:

    Two questions:

    1)How would you describe the stain pattern on your pants if not Chaos?

    2) Malcolm’s enrollment wasn’t revoked after you admitting your idiocy?

    • brad says:

      You were begging for the 1st of school day to arrive and when it did you dropped the ball.

      When I draft my fantasy at-home dad team and need guy for clutch moments I’m looking elsewhere.

      • 1) Classic nacho splash.
        2) We paid up front to avoid any revocation.
        3) I am everyone’s fantasy at home dad. Unanimous first round selection and must start, every week.

  4. lisa b says:

    oh my — this story is just classic Wils & Paul all over the place. 🙂

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