This is so damn cool

After about ten minutes from now, because I’m taking care of a couple of things here at the start of the day, I’m going to do my damnedest to avoid looking at screens today, because my eyes are bugging me. The internet will have to do without me today.

Which means that I won’t be able to look at this five thousand more times.  But YOU can.

In which I have a three-year-old

Yesterday was awful, but not in a way that I can make funny or entertaining– “these numbers won’t add up, and nothing we can do will make them!” does not make for a fun blog post– and I basically took the entire day off from the Internet.  Today is my son’s birthday, so I’m gonna be busy as hell for at least the next seven or eight hours, but may be around tonight, since I was smart enough to take the weekend off from OtherJob.  


Three OtherJob anecdotes

Last night’s weather was beautiful and everyone is starting school soonish, so apparently everyone decided it was a perfect night to be outside.  So they all came to me.  We were insanely busy for most of the night.  Have some stories!

Anecdote the first!  I, for once, manage to restrain my tendency to start shit with people.  A group of four high school students– probably juniors or seniors– come up to the counter.  One of them is wearing a shirt.  It reads, more or less, like this:  WE SUPPORT MR. SMITH.  TEACH BOTH SIDES.  LET US DECIDE.

It wasn’t “Mr. Smith,” but I’m reproducing it that way because I don’t remember what the guy’s actual name was.  It started with a C; that’s all I’ve got.

Am I being presumptuous here if I assume that Mr. Smith has gotten himself into some trouble by teaching creation in his science class?  Probably not, right?  This line of argument doesn’t apply to any other education controversy that I’m aware of at the moment.  Basically Mr. Smith is being an asshole who isn’t doing his job and he’s managed to rope this foolish young man, and no doubt other members of their community, into supporting him.

Here are the points I might have made to this young man had I been in more of a crappy mood and not at my job at a business that I do not own.  And there are a number of ways in which I could discuss the wrongness of this garment but I’m going to limit myself to one.

Young man, Mr. Smith’s job is to teach science.  Do you know how I know that?  Because if he was teaching at a Catholic school, or a private Protestant school of some sort, you would never have a reason to own that shirt.

There is no “decision” here, son.  None whatsoever.  There is Science, and there is Not Science.  If Mr. Smith teaches a class called Science, he should not be teaching Not Science.  There are a lot of debates to be had about creationism but one of the debates is not whether creationism is science.  It’s not.  Period.  And therefore it does not belong in Mr. Smith’s Science class.

If I decided to start teaching about World War II in my Algebra class, I would get into exactly the same kind of trouble Mr. Smith is currently in, only there would be no one making shirts for me, because World War II isn’t as Jesus-ridden as creationism and therefore there would be no one feeling as if it should be shoved into every aspect of everything everywhere all the time.

Your teacher done fucked up.  If he doesn’t stop fucking up, speaking as a union representative, he needs to be gone.  You wanna support him?  Say hi at church.

Anecdote the second!  This is the shortest anecdote, but perhaps the saddest.  It is late in the evening and enough of my customers have cleared out that I can pay attention to what is going on around me and not just to what is happening in front of me at my counter.  There are three young women– possibly late high school, but I suspect from their clothing early college– sitting at one of our tables trying to calculate their scores.  They are using a calculator for this purpose.  Recall that calculating your score in this game involves adding precisely eighteen numbers, none of which should be above five.

I wait for them to screw up and start over three times– again, using a calculator– before I invoke one of the privileges of OtherJob, that being I can say anything I want to anyone ever and get away with it so long as I am smiling and behind my counter.

“You three are killing my will to live right now,” I say.  “Get over here.”

They bring me their scorecard.  I note that they have written 116 for the first girl’s score and 135 for the second girl’s score.  Those would represent averages of 6.4 repeating and 7.5 per hole.  You cannot score higher than five.  These scores are manifestly impossible.  I engage in vigorous mockery– “Wait, all three of you thought this was possible?”– for a moment, and then add up their scores for them.  In my head.

I refuse to take the blame when people like this can’t pass standardized tests.  You’ve had fourteen or fifteen years in which to master basic arithmetic.  This shit is your fault.

Anecdote the third!  It is an hour until closing.  A group of nine walks in, which is generally the worst thing ever, because these groups always want to play multiple rounds and manage to finish the first one just quickly enough that I can’t justify not letting them start a second even though it’s going to keep me there half an hour past closing.

Worse:  seven of the nine are kids, ranging in age from seven or eight to maybe fifteen or sixteen.  The majority are early middle-school age, and the two oldest appear to be dating from the way they’re standing just a bit too close to each other.

Even worse: The two adults are dads.  The first thing out of their mouths is to ask me when we close, and then they look at each other and say “We have an hour, then.”  Oh, great, that means you think I’m babysitting.  Thanks!  This is what I want.

Turns out dads are planning on heading next door to the bar and getting their drink on while the kids fuck up my evening.  Two of them are already chasing each other around and putting each other in headlocks.

Hm.  No.  I have a word with Dads and with kids about behavior expectations, and I watch as one of the dads pulls the oldest boy aside by the crook of his elbow and has a word with him in private.  I suspect he’s telling him to watch the other kids; I also suspect that he’s going to be too busy watching his girlfriend to pay much attention to what his younger brothers are doing.

I leave out my day job, and the fact that since Dads have made the mistake of letting me know where they’re going to be, that I will literally march their kids across the parking lot to them if they start causing trouble on my course.

Here’s the good news, though: the kids, after a bit of a rough start, calm down and finish their first course with little to no drama and misbehavior.  They have about fifteen minutes until Dads are supposed to come back over; I tell them to go ahead and start another round for free with the understanding that when the parents show up, they’re done, and that they don’t get to finish another entire round.  They agree to this and go on their way.

About ten minutes later, mom calls one of them.  I happen to be nearby, having had to have a word with one of the boys who has clearly had enough for the evening and has decided to start using his putter in non-approved ways.  Mom tells them to go find Dads, right now, and tell Dads to bring them the fuck home.  I find myself hoping that the oldest two have driver’s licenses.

And then I watch these seven kids walk across the parking lot to the place next door, and it occurs to me that they have to walk out of my view entirely, on a relatively dark road, to get in their front door.

I think about this for a minute, and then call the other place.

THEM: <Name of next door,> Hi, can I help you?

ME:  Hi, this is Luther, I’m calling from OtherJob next door.  How’s it going?

THEM:  Great.  What’s up?

ME: Did you happen to just have seven middle school kids walk in your door?

THEM: Yeah, actually.  Can I assume you know something about the field trip?

ME: Yeah, apparently their dads are with you, and mom called and insisted they go meet them.  I just wanted to make sure they made it there.  I’m not super interested in the news interviewing me about the missing kids tomorrow.

THEM:  Yeah, I get it.  Does that mean they’re my problem now?

ME:  Yup.  Good news is they’re mostly well-behaved.  And I’m closing in five minutes so no tag-backs.

THEM:  Awesome.  You owe us golf.

ME:  I can live with that.  Have fun!

THEM:  Thanks for calling!

Yay, Saturday night!

A roller skating blog named Saturdays

Let’s see.  It’s 11:19.  Meeting my family at the zoo at noon, birthday party near the zoo for one of my wife’s co-worker’s kids at one, work at OtherJob at five, need to cram a couple of meals in between now and then… I need to get just over four thousand words written today and tomorrow to not fall farther behind than I was at the beginning of the week… oh, and theoretically we’re going to start tiling soon.

It, uh, may be a quiet day around here?  A quiet weekend?  Maybe I’ll post some pictures from the zoo.

Have I mentioned that The Benevolence Archives, vol. 1 is only ninety-nine American pennies now?  You should check it out, either at Smashwords or Amazon.