Download a copy of the story, Fable of a Lazy Boy
Wendy shares a cautionary tale with her brother, JJ.
Giles Garfunkel had no desire to do much of anything. One morning, his father took him to the doctor, concerned that he might be perpetually ill.
After her examination, the doctor came back into the examining room.“Giles, you’re perfectly healthy, just the right weight. I can’t find anything wrong with you.” She closed his medical chart. “You would be much better off if you went outside sometimes and got some exercise at least once a day.” She looked over at Giles’ father. “Is there any exercise he likes, Mr. Garfunkel?”
“He likes to swim.” His father sighed. “Really, he just likes to float.”
The doctor reached for the door knob.“Well, it’s too cold right now for that, although there is a heated pool at the recreation center right here in town. You might try that.”
“Thank you for the suggestion, doctor. You like to swim, don’t you Giles?”
Giles, still sitting on the examining table, slumped over and stared at a fingernail he pondered on whether or not to chew.
The doctor wrote something on a pad, tore off the sheet and handed it to Giles’ father. “Here’s a prescription for iron tablets. Let’s see if that makes a difference.”
Giles took the lollipop she offered, eased down off the table, and followed his father outside.
The next morning, his mother came into his bedroom.“Haven’t you accomplished anything today, Giles?”
Giles did not move from where he was draped over his bed, a book of adventures open in front of him. Those stories provided quite enough excitement for him, thank you very much.“Uh huh.”
“I’m reading this book. Three pages so far.” He shifted from one side to another.
“Day after day, you’re like this little man. It’s time you got out of bed and did something with your life.” His mother picked up his clothing tossed all about, folded some pieces and others she tossed on a pile for washing. “Have you at least done your homework?”
“Yes. No. Not really.”
“Your father wants to take you to the pool today, but you can’t go until it’s done.”
“All right.” He rolled over one more time, opened his notebook sitting on top of a pile of things on one corner of the bed, and began to make a few marks on the sheet.
“Giles, you need to put some effort into it. If you don’t, you’ll never do well in school.” His mother sighed, as she usually did. “I’m about to give up on you, although I really don’t want to.”
Giles wasn’t concerned that she’d give up on him. After all, he was the only child.
Later that afternoon, his father convinced him to get up from the bed and go to the pool at the recreation center, without a guarantee that he’d finished his homework. When Giles’ mother objected, he said, “It will be good for the boy, Bettina, to get some exercise. I’ll make sure he does his homework afterwards.
His mother finally gave in.
“Here you go, boy. Follow me.”At the recreation center, Giles watched as his father dove into the pool and swam toward the other end, threading through the children playing and splashing about.
Giles hiked up his swim trunks. “The water looks nice and relaxing.” He jumped and just as he hit the water, he noticed that he’d picked a spot that was particularly dark. Once he sank into the pool, he felt as if he’d been sucked through a tunnel, but since he closed his eyes, he didn’t see where he was going.
Once he finally opened his eyes, Giles noticed he’d landed someplace calm, surrounded by plants that fluttered around him and with his belly touching soft sand. He could barely make out flashes of bright blue and yellow—swimsuits, no doubt—and what looked like faces staring in awe and pointing at him. Even deep in the water, he started to breathe normally, perfectly content for the time being with this perfectly suitable spot he’d found where no one bothered him.
What Giles didn’t know is that a boy who more or less looked like him jumped out of the pool that day, full of energy. His name was Giles, as well, but with parents who never wanted to do anything at all. The second Giles thought a wish of his had been fulfilled when the man who looked a little like his father took him home to a woman who looked a little like his mother. And both of them mentioned repeatedly over several days how much a little swim had dramatically changed their son for the better.