Let me tell you, Ahwatukee: The Kids Interrupted are smart.

Of course I think that! All moms believe that their kids are budding Einsteins. But when you can't swing a dead pot roast at our dinner table without hitting a conversation about metaphysics or the time-space continuum or whether transporter technology is really possible, I have to wonder.

Our 17-year-old son, Sam, is no exception. An enthusiastic historian, he'll spend an entire meal discussing the significance of the Trans-Siberian railroad, or discoursing eloquently about the Spanish Inquisition. He can give you 15 minutes on how socks were the cause of the Battle of Gettysburg without pausing for breath.

He's also an artist, and a pretty talented one to boot (insert shameless, nepotism-laden Facebook plug here for Super Sam Comix), who makes the most of everything we give him. We took him to a den meeting when he was 6 and he's now almost completely turned himself into an Eagle Scout. We gave him art supplies, and he promptly turned them into prize money (this trick hasn't worked with his allowance yet).

Like many parents, we gave him a cell phone so we could communicate with him when he was gone on outings and field trips. For several years, we had precisely the kind of experience you would expect from an absent-minded adolescent boy with a phone: He could never find the phone.

Until the day recently when Sam found himself a girlfriend. And then roughly five minutes later, and no doubt using the glow of true love, he found his phone under a pile of socks and old burrito wrappers. And, apparently in keeping with his mission to make the most of everything we give him, hasn't put it down again.

We know this because every time we see him, he's texting. Walking down stairs, eating dinner, mowing the lawn, he's texting. And because last month, our family sent (and I am not making this up) 21,453 text messages.

Just so we're straight on this: Everyone BUT Sam sent 46.

If you're keeping score at home, that's almost 700 texts a day. I'm an analyst by trade, so I just couldn't stop myself: If it takes 10 seconds to send a text, 21,407 text messages translates to 115 minutes, or two solid hours every day doing nothing but hammering away at a 3-inch wide keyboard with his thumbs. While he's pretending to listen to us. Or doing his chores. Or his chemistry homework (but not when he's driving. He hasn't quit texting long enough to get a job so he can afford insurance).

That's gotta hurt. Especially when you're not watching where you're walking because you can't go 30 seconds without reading the latest missive from that nice girl. Or without sending an impassioned note back.

And like an all-you-can-eat buffet owner going bankrupt after the football team decimated the prime rib station, the T-Mobile people are quietly trying to kill our unlimited texting plan.

So, yes: Sam, Interrupted is plenty smart.

But not so smart that he didn't think about what he was doing when he dared me to write this column about him.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at elizabethann40@hotmail.com.


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