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Larry Penkava: Thar’s gold in them thar, uh, bedrooms?

"Son, go clean your room. It looks like a pig sty."


"So, what's in it for me, Mom?"


"Oh, maybe $83,900."




How many times have you had to tell your teenage kid to clean up his or her bedroom before the Health Department condemns it? Or, while one can still walk through it? Or, after you stepped onto the pile and heard a squeal?


Teens are known for being procrastinators. Unless, of course, it's time for the game or the concert or the sleepover.


"Mom, I need you to take me now or I'll miss the: A. first quarter; B. warm up act; C. pillow fight."


"You weren't in such a hurry when I told you to take out the trash. Which, by the way, is still waiting for you."


Does this strike a nerve? It should if you've ever had children. Or grandchildren.


"Dear, why don't you ever wear the jeans I bought for you?" asks Grandma. "I thought they were so cute."


"I'd wear them but I don't know where they are."


"Have you tried looking in your landfill?"


There are times when cleaning up the bedroom reaps unexpected rewards. Take the case of Scottish teen Ryan Kitching, who put off his mum's demands to tidy up for weeks.


According to The Telegraph of the United Kingdom, Ryan, 19, finally took to the task and promptly found 12 old lottery tickets, one of which netted him £52,983.80, or about $83,900 U.S. currency.


"Hopefully, he'll listen to me next time," said his mum Susan.


Even Ryan was more open to the idea of keeping his room clean. "When I found out through Camelot that I had won nearly £53,000, I was over the moon," he said. "Next time she nags me to tidy my room, I won't need telling twice."


Yeah, right.


But maybe Mum won't have to worry about Ryan's slovenly ways for much longer. Though he "had not worked out what he will use the money for yet," his parents gave him a strong suggestion — "putting a deposit down on a house."


Yeah, move him out before the rubbish piles back up. Send him off on his own to fend for himself. Let him oversee his own garbage dump.


The debris found in the rooms of teens and younger children are often the detritus that only an archaeologist (or grandmother) could love. Picking through the layers of clothes and toys and gaming systems, you can see the distinct passage of time from toddler to preschooler to preteen to adolescent.


"Oh look, here are the socks she wore home from the hospital ... I found the fire truck he used to play with ... Check this out, here behind the toy box, her cheerleader Barbie ... Guess what, the guitar he was going to play in that band he was going to form. ..."


Yeah, you'll find all kinds of treasures in those stacks of dolls, baseball gloves, petticoats, die-cast cars, chalkboards and Etch-A-Sketches. Sometimes you find more money than underneath your sofa cushions.


For instance, when a certain individual was finally shamed into cleaning out the change from his car, the pint jarful of coins resulted in more than $22 that was rolled and deposited into the bank.


Now, if this person can be persuaded into going through the pile of clothes, someone might find the missing socks that are now without mates.


In those rare cases of prospecting in the bedrooms of youth, you might find a small fortune. Just ask Ryan Kitching.


"It would take me four or five years to earn this amount of money and now I've got it all at once."


But wait, there's more. Ryan said he wants to treat his parents to a holiday and help his younger brother Sean, 16, buy a car.


Sean's room could turn out to be another mother lode (or should that be mother’s load?). No telling what could be lurking under his bed, in his closet or inside his dresser drawers.


Are you listening, Mrs. Kitching? Now's the time to turn up the pressure.


"Sean, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times to clean your room."


"Sure Mum, in a bit. Just as soon as I finish my video game, I'll be right on it."




Larry Penkava is a writer for Randolph Hub. Contact: 336-302-2189, larrypenkava@gmail.com.