I almost titled this post "A Shameless Plug for my Kid." But I decided to be more subtle, because subtle is better when I'm trying to convince you to do something (and it wont' cost a thing, I swear).
Before I start my pitch, though, I want to tell you a story about my oldest son, Max. He's always been a funny kid with a really novel take on life. A few years ago, when he was about 9 or so, Max and I came home to an empty house to find that the washing machine had flooded. This meant we had to pull everything out of the laundry room, move the washing machine and dryer, figure out what was going wrong, and then fix it. Max was at that awesome age when he was eager to help Dad with any project, so we started pushing and pulling and moving stuff around.
Then the Domino Effect kicked in. The outflow pipe came off the wall, the dryer vent was pulled free, and things went from bad to worse. At one point, like an idiot, I wanted to see if the pump was still working in the washing machine, so I turned it on without hooking up the outflow pipe and sprayed water all over the laundry room.
My wife picked that exact second to arrive home. She walked in, saw us with the laundry room taken apart, water all over the floor, dryer lint floating through the air, and asked, "What's going on?"
Max looked up and said in his completely earnest way: "Hi, Mom. We're formerly known as the disaster waiting to happen."
I had to stop and think about that for a second.
Anyway, Max is 15 years old now and he entered a writing competition at SparksNotes (the organization that helps students figure out what the heck books are supposed to mean). He was selected as a finalist in the category of "Most Unique." If he wins the voting round, he gets $500. Which is a fortune to a 15-year-old who keeps a list of toys he wants (drums, new iPod, car, music).
So here's my pitch: go check out Max's entry in the competition. Read the other two entries. Carefully consider who DESERVES to win.
And then vote for Max.