Cupcake Surprise

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley


I slowly stepped on the bus while balancing 19 cupcakes. When it’s your birthday, you get to bring treats for all your friends in class. And when you have cupcakes, everyone is your friend! 

Halfway to school, I realized I only had 17 classmates. So I quickly did the math and ate three cupcakes.

Then my friend Glasses asked if he could have his cupcake on the bus. I guess he ate two, because I recounted and only had 15 left. That’s when I remembered something.

On the first day of school, five of my classmates said they were vegan. Mom definitely used eggs and milk in the cupcakes, so that left five more for me! Math is tricky.

By the time I got off the bus, I’d eaten those five and didn’t want to look at another cupcake. So I voluntarily gave the rest to Richie and Justin. This was a good plan, seeing as they had taken them from me.

“Oh, by the way, happy birthday,” Justin said. “I like your pointed hat.”

It would’ve been a nice compliment had I actually been wearing a birthday hat. I think I’ll start combing my hair down when I wake up.

Anyway, I walked in my classroom to a huge birthday greeting!

“Surprise!” my teacher shouted.

I was happy until she finished her sentence.

“We’re having a pop quiz.” 

That’s not what I asked for my birthday at all. Anyway, we took our pop quiz (which didn’t have any questions about Coke or 7UP) and then we went to music class.

I was excited because we were having school musical tryouts. Every year I’ve tried out but never made it. By that I mean I’ve never made it through an entire song during tryouts. My teacher always has some strange interruption and has to stop me after my fifth note.

Last year she had a spontaneous earache. The year before her cell phone went off. This year I’d been practicing a lot. I know that hard work and determination are the only ways to succeed.

I walked into the music room with confidence. My teacher must’ve eaten eight cupcakes that morning as well, because she suddenly had a sick look on her face. 

I took my place. She put in her earplugs. (She says she has to wear them to block out the background noise when I sing.) I started my song and sure enough was stopped after the second line.

“Bob! Have you been practicing?” my teacher said, taking out her earplugs.

“Yeah,” I said. “A lady at my church has been helping me. Also, I practice every day in the doghouse. My dad says that’s the best place to sing because of the echo.”

Then my teacher gave me the best birthday present ever. 

“Well, all that hard work has paid off,” she said. “I’ve got a part for you this year. Great job!” 

So I just wanted to remind you that if you really want something, the best way to earn it is through hard work and determination. I also wanted to remind you not to eat too many cupcakes. The rest of my day wasn’t very fun.


This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2011 by Bob Smiley. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.