Does anyone have the time?

I don't think many teenagers will say they're "normal," and I'm certainly no exception. Just off the top of my head, I'm a soccer player, I don't wear Abercrummie or Gap, and my visits to Google News far outnumber my music downloads and instant messages.

I do, however, have one thing in common with many teenagers: a lack of time.

No, I don't suffer from extracurricular burnout. When the "Organization Fair" comes around, I'm not the guy running from table to table flexing my John Hancock. I'm the freeloader meandering around the gym sampling the free candy offered by each club.

Just what makes me itch for 25-hour days? I don't slave over fast-food 40 hours a week. Nor do I feel the need to post to 20,000 Web communities (it's probably closer to half that). Even after searching Google high and low, I had trouble finding the source, much less the cure, for my itch.

Then, my cynical 1 a.m. brain formulated a theory: Ever since the elimination of naps, school has taught us to not value time.


Think about it: If you're done with the lesson at 2:45, and class gets out at 3:10, you can expect to stay another 25 minutes and not a minute less. Doing nothing.

Maybe you're lucky enough to have a study hall. This might be a useful period if you were allowed to do anything besides re-read that book for the 27th time or rest your head on the desk and dream about fractions. After all, getting up to go ask the math teacher a question might disrupt the other nappers.

Then there's computer classes. If you can already use Windows well (perhaps because you use it to write a weekly column in a regional newspaper), but you're spending the next week learning the "Edit" menu, you better be practicing "undo" until your wrists bleed. And don't even think about checking your e-mail -- do you really think you can get to Hotmail when your school's network even blocks such graphic sites as

Those of us who are old enough can opt for some college-level courses, like I have. Thus I can commute an hour a day to Rochester Community and Technical College only to have a professor not show up at all, or wake up at 6 a.m. four days a week to watch a movie in a literature course (sadly, without popcorn like we got in eighth grade).

I bet if you added up all the time that wasn't saved by the bell, we'd all have graduated long ago. But now, I'd be happy with just an hour a day back. What would be so wrong about devoting an hour a day to jogging, writing a book or doing something mythical "normal" teenagers do?

What's wrong is that it would take away from my precious experience practicing "undo" and being told to "get more involved."

Disclaimer: I haven't yet said the word "homework." This isn't your typical school rant; if I had wanted that, I could have easily hired a better complainer than myself and saved some time.

Now I'd better go dream about fractions.


Brian Hokanson is a senior at Pine Island High School. To respond to an opinion column, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to

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