Being a latchkey kid might sound like a lot of fun. It probably is if you're the kind of kid who is sneaky when grownups aren’t around. But I'm a good kid, and that means I come right home and stay out of trouble. No friends coming over to visit, no long phone calls, no snooping around for Dad's smut collection.
Every day, I walk home, unlock the door, lock it again after me, get an approved snack. The fridge isn't locked, so I could have ice cream and cake, or even try to cook something and maybe set the house on fire. But because I'm a good kid, I make a peanut butter jelly sandwich, pour myself a glass of milk, and settle down in front of the TV. I'm allowed to have half an hour of TV when I get home, before I start my homework.
Usually, I catch the last half hour of a talk show. There are several on when I get home, so I have my pick: entertainment gossip, family drama gossip, sports gossip, political gossip. Yesterday was Monday, entertainment gossip day. But instead of my usual entertainment talk show, there was a quiz show. No big deal, I thought. Probably just a schedule change, and I like quiz shows, too. Besides, the category for the day what science, and I had science homework, which seems like a nice coincidence.
"First question: what is the third planet from the sun?"
"Earth!" The TV contestant said. “Venus”. I said simultaneously. He was right.
“Next question: Which of Newton’s laws states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?"
Tough one! I shouted “First!” and the contestant answered “Third”. He was right again.
By the end of the show, I had gotten none of the correct answers, but the TV whiz kid had aced them all.
I turned off the TV, dragged my back pack to the kitchen table, and took out my science folder to start on my homework.
First question: What is the third planet from the sun? Puzzled, I scanned the rest of the page and smiled.
Sometimes being a latchkey kid can be a very good thing.