Photo from Complex Systems Research Center

"You know, Joey, you've been doing awfully well with your studies lately. I'm starting to think that you might just graduate in a few years if you keep this up."

"Thanks, Uncle Dave, I sure have been trying hard. My dad says that if I try hard enough, then he doesn't have to."

"Doesn't have to try what?"

"I don't know, Uncle Dave. Whenever I ask him that he slaps the crap out of me."

"Then take some advice from your Uncle Dave, Joey, and stop asking. Your daddy is a busy man with a lot on his mind."


"Ha ha ha... no. But he's my brother, what the heck am I supposed to say? Anyway, what we were talking about, you and school, turning that attitude around, paying attention to your studies instead of those friends of yours who just want you to fail, well, I believe it's starting to pay off. You're going to be a sophomore this year..."


"No, I talked to your dad, and he doesn't think you're ready to move on yet. But, and this is a very big but, he... uh... he..."

"What is it, Uncle Dave?"

"Nothing, Joey, you just got me thinking about big butts there for a moment, heh heh heh... What I'm saying is, I'm darn proud of you, and if you keep up the good work, I'm thinking of giving you a peanut in the spring."

"A peanut? A peanut? You suck, Uncle Dave."

"Hey, come on Sport, it's a really big peanut. I mean, these are imported from Brazil, they about..."

"I don't care if that fucker is the size of a football and covered in chocolate, Uncle Dave, I am not going back to tenth grade for a fourth time. Everybody I was in class with has graduated. They're gone! And you know what? So am I. I'm eighteen and I'm outta here."

"But Joey, think of the peanut. Just make it through this semester and that peanut is going to be yours. And by the way, it is as big as a football and it is covered with chocolate."

"I don't know, Uncle Dave, maybe if it was a cashew or a macadamia nut..."

"I'll tell you what, you keep your eyes on the gold and next time we might just be talking about macadamias and a whole lot more."

"Like graduation?"

"One step at a time, Joey. Right now why don't we just try and keep our focus on that peanut."


2007, Mark Hoback