Mr. Hopkins had been teaching for over a decade. Twice a year, he held parent-teacher conferences. By 9 PM, he was anxious to go home. But there was always the matter of the attendance sheet. You had to send the office a report of how many parents you saw, and before doing this, you simply could not go home.
Mr. Hopkins would often see 30 parents. One year, he dropped a sheet saying he had seen those 30 parents, but did so 5 minutes before visitations began. That will save some valuable time, he thought. But lo and behold, the APO's efficient and overbearing secretary interrupted a conversation with a parent to say there must have been an error, and that he could not possibly know how many parents he'd seen before the actual conferences began.
She returned his sheet, and at 9 PM he marched forlornly to the APO's office, where he deposited the very same paper, saying he had seen 30 students. He wondered what on earth they did with this paper, and why it was so important. No teacher had ever heard a peep about this report as far as he knew, and no one knew why the school wanted it so badly.
So next parent-teacher conference, Mr. Hopkins threw caution to the wind and doubled his estimate, claiming to have seen 60 parents. As usual, no one said anything. The next conference, according to Mr. Hopkins, drew 120 parents. From there it went to 240, 480, 960, 1920, and so forth.
Finally Mr. Hopkins grew weary of the calculations. He started making up the numbers outright. One month he saw 9,742 parents. The next conference was 42, 567. Finally, he claimed to have seen 3.5 billion parents one nippy March evening.
This brought a swift response from the APO's secretary, who was sorely tempted to report this outrage to the APO herself. Of course, the APO would be unable to handle so wily an opponent as Mr. Hopkins, so she prudently determined to give him a few choice words. When she determined Mr. Hopkins was sufficiently humbled, she tore up his attendance sheet and let him know, in no uncertain terms, that she would need a new one by day's end, or there would be consequences!
Consequences! That didn't sound good at all. Mr. Hopkins took the new sheet, bowed his head slightly, and wrote 30 on the space provided.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.