Confession No. 120 — Our son is the sick one, yet we suffer. Go figure.

There is no vaccination for it. There is also no immediate cure. And unfortunately, my son has been infected with this horrible disorder.

Senioritis.

Unlike some conditions, senioritis affects most people between the ages of 17 and 18. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: a swollen head, regular tardiness, plenty of song and dance shenanigans, smart-ass remarks, daytime sleepiness and general apathy — all of which have been exhibited by our Christopher. I’ve been told the manifestation lasts about as long as a typical school year, miraculously going away around the same time Pomp and Circumstance is played at high school graduation.

Still, my son’s condition is one of the worst I’ve witnessed, since he actually contracted the disease as an 11th grader.

‘Hey Dad,’ my son said, breathing heavily into the phone. ‘We’re at the aquatic center and the physics class is inside doing their cardboard box boat contest.’

‘Yeah? So?’ I responded.

‘Well, they won’t let us go in and watch,’ he answered.

‘Then go back across the street to the main campus. Why are you calling me?’

‘I was hoping you’d make a call and get us in,’ he said.

‘Chris,’ I quipped, ‘get the hell out of there! I’m not using my position here for stuff like that.’

‘Fine. We’ll just go look through the windows.’

And that was it. He hung up. I was left sitting at the school district’s central office debating whether I should call the school resource officer on my son. After his run-in with the art teacher on the final day of his 11th grade school year a few weeks later, I was wishing that I had.

Historically, senioritis has affected family members of the afflicted more so than the carrier himself. Our son’s case has been no different.

‘What in the Sam Hill are you doing?’ I asked Chris as I shut my car door. I’d just worked about eight hours and was home long enough to hug my wife before I had to go back to the office.

‘I’m painting the wheels,’ he responded. ‘We talked about this.’

‘No,’ I responded. ‘You texted me about it and I responded with an LOL. LOL doesn’t mean that you can destroy the truck.’

But the damage was done. The truck I had spent $24,000 on in 2004 … the truck I’ve pampered with regular washes, waxes, high-grade gasoline and synthetic oil changes … the truck that still has fewer than 100,000 miles on it, now looks like one of the Hot Wheels cars that I collected as a kid.

‘I thought you were going to sign this over to me when I graduate,’ he said.

Graduate college!’ I quickly corrected him.

Of course, rebellion is among the most commonly displayed symptoms of senioritis. And though it occasionally brings back memories of my own bug more than 25 years ago, it’s hardly entertaining and rarely something that can be ignored.

‘So, my calculus teacher decided that he’d be a jerk today for no reason —’

‘What do you want, Chris?’ I interrupted. ‘I’m between meetings and don’t have time to hear details.’

‘Well, that jerk called me out in front of the whole class for wearing jeans to school,’ he barked.

‘And? You’re calling me about it because?’

‘Dad! He told me it was a slap in the face to everyone else who’s following the uniform policy!’

‘Chris,’ I said ‘just wear chinos and don’t call me about this stuff.’

‘I just want you to know that he told me to go sit in an empty classroom for the period, so I drove home. I’m just going to kick it here for the rest of the day.’

While senioritis in itself is not fatal, it can spawn threats toward the patient’s mortality, or cause severe frustration and thoughts of running away on the part of parents. On occasion, hostilities exhibited by the infected subject can cause caretakers to partake in excessive consumption of spirits or experience strange (but pleasant) dreams of being without offspring.

‘I need you to stick around school this afternoon for a few minutes,’ my wife told our son. ‘Alexandra needs a ride home and I’ll be at the dentist.’

‘Seriously?’ he asked. ‘I just spent my whole paycheck on a bass booster for the truck and a friend was going to help me install it.’

‘Install it 10 minutes later than you were planning,’ she said. ‘Don’t give me a hard time over this.’

‘But Mom! This is the only time he can help me!’

If there is anything positive about senioritis — other than it doesn’t last relatively long — it’s that it pretty much signals the end of one life stage and the beginning of another. It won’t be long before our son gets to consider pledging to a fraternity, or burns the midnight oil trying to crank out a term paper for the ‘hardest professor at this university,’ as he will undoubtedly tell us. And then, he’ll walk across another stage to accept another type of diploma.

I just hope and pray that I can keep my sanity intact in the mean time. After all, we’ll have another senioritis-infected child in just three short years.

Want to receive notifications of my Confessions in your email? Just click here. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+. — Special thanks to Megan E. ‘Glamour Bonnet’ Hawkins at The Underground Writer  for editing this piece.


As you might have surmised, I was a strange child. When it came to fish, I preferred a big hunk of something freshly caught (or even from the seafood counter) to those nasty minced fish sticks. Though I do enjoy a good fish sandwich, I’ve always believed that fish is best when it’s not overwhelmed with coatings and sauces. This recipe accomplishes that. There are just enough panko crumbs to provide a little crunch, while the Meyer Lemon Caper Sauce is light enough to lend a beautiful complement.

Fish w/ Meyer Lemon Caper Sauce

Blah blah blah

Flaky white fish with a little crunch and a bright Meyer Lemon caper sauce. Delectable.

5 (4-6 oz) – Fish filets (Flaky white – Cod, Halibut, Snapper, etc.)
1 – Egg, beaten
1 cup – Panko crumbs
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2-3 TB – Vegetable oil

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil to medium-high. (If using cast iron, heat the oil over the medium heat.) Pat fish dry then season with salt and pepper. Dip one side of the filets in egg, then press into panko crumbs. Repeat with other filets.

Place filets — breaded side down — into preheated skillet. Cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes, then carefully flip. Continue cooking until fish flakes easily, about 2-3 more minutes. Serve immediately topped with Meyer Lemon Caper Sauce.

Meyer Lemon Caper Sauce

4 TB – Butter
2 – Garlic cloves, minced
1 TB – Sun dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
1 TB – Capers
1/2 cup – Dry white wine
Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
Grated zest of 1 Meyer Lemon

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 TB of the butter over medium heat. Add garlic, capers and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wine and lemon zest; continue cooking until wine is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and 1 TB of butter, swirling until mixture is combined and butter is melted. — Season with Kosher salt as desired.

This dish goes well with a side of sauteed fresh spinach. If you insist on a starch, a garlicky quinoa works great.  — Serves 5.

Comments

  1. Wow! The painted wheels would have had me in a position where I might consider bodily harm. :) I was a pretty bad teen myself, at times though, yet somehow still became a pretty decent adult. Hold on to hope.

  2. Oh wow….that fish looks amazing. And I hit up the Central Market Citrusfest yesterday, so I have Meyer lemons by the score waiting for an assignment!

    Sooooooo, my son painted the truck. Not just the wheels…..consider yourself lucky.

    • adamjholland says:

      Save plenty of those Meyer Lemons (about 10) for Meyer Lemon Limoncello. I’ve been working on it for several weeks and the plan is to post the recipe next week. — As for the truck, he’s not finished, I’m sure. ;-)

  3. I love white fish with any kind of lemon sauce. This one also has capers which I also really like. This is soon going to be on our menu. I just wish I could find Meyer lemons more easily in our community.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    Senioritis? Oh heck yeah. I was called at work by my daughters school when she was told that she would not be walking at graduation. Please come and get her they said, she is quite upset and physically sick. SHE IS UPSET? I wanted to give another number for them to call because if they think she is upset….. I had been paying tuition since she was four years of age for her to attend this school. The fight had been on all year long. “Are your papers in?” “Yes, a long time ago.” “Then how come they are calling me saying you haven’t turned anything in?” “Oh mom, all the teachers are crazy, they hate me!” Hmmmm. Just how well did that work out for you, daughter, love of my life? They called back later and said that they went over it again and she barely qualifies to walk. Shaking my head…….

    • adamjholland says:

      You’ve made me nervous, Jill. If I get such a call in a few months, I’m going to strangle him. — As for the Meyer Lemons, if you don’t have them, just add a little orange juice to the mixture (and a few swipes from the orange peel too). The fruit is a natural hybrid of lemon and orange, with lemon being the dominant fruit. Please let me know how you like it. :-)

  4. Another great post. I think my daughter has contracted senioritis as a freshman! :O As for the fish, YUM!

    • adamjholland says:

      Oh my, Kathryn. Just know that — if your physician won’t prescribe Xanax (for you) — most mainstream anti-anxiety medications work OK. ;-)

  5. Been there, done that, got the tshirt…two sons…twice the craziness. Thankfully daughter was much easier and saved what little sanity we had left. Good luck!!

  6. I hate to say it-but just wait until college freshman-itis. We were happy we survived that year. But then again, we were happy to survive it all!

    • adamjholland says:

      Did you really just rain on my parade-to-be, Abbe? So, I’m going to need more couch time next year too? Geez. ;-)

  7. Whoa. Reading this essay literally took years off of my life! I better don my Glamour Bonnet. You might need it too after that whole painting-the-truck incident (as it has come to be known).

    • adamjholland says:

      About the same you were reading this, he was painting the roof of the truck. Apparently, there was a little rust up top. Perhaps I should do an essay about me being the absentee parent. :-/

  8. Melina Bush says:

    Oh Adam, as one who knew you “back in the day”, all I can think of is the word karma. However, I love your essay.

  9. HE PAINTED THE WHEELS????? So sorry for yelling but you handled that much more calmly than would I. My last child graduated high school in 2008 and college in 2012. We’re officially done with parenting the young’uns. Doesn’t mean we’re no longer parents. We love our kids and are involved in their lives. But, man, are we glad those parenting days are over. God bless you, Adam. The fish looks divine, by the way.

  10. I probably should have gone to the hospital when I had Senioritis. Bad stuff. Love this recipe Adam. Lemon+capers=swoon.

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