Thursday, July 21, 2005

Why I’m not a teacher

There are a lot of weird kids out there, and I know this because we have a swimming pool in our development, and that is where all of the weird kids in the world go to hang out, and challenge each other in various Olympic aquatic events, like who can eat the most sour cream & onion potato chips in the pool.

A few weeks ago, I went to the pool after work to relax, and once I hit the lounge chair, I was out, which was amazing in itself since a) there were about 89 kids there that day, all screaming at the top of their lungs in unison, and b) I was in close proximity to the pool, and was constantly getting wet because kids have absolutely no regard for who is around them when they are jumping over the “no jumping” sign in an attempt to splash as much water out of the pool, and onto innocent bystanders, as possible.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was in a deep late-day slumber, until I was steadily awoken by a voice repeatedly saying, “Excuse me…excuse me…excuse me…EXCUSE ME!” When I opened my eyes, the sun was still blaring, and I could only faintly see the heavenly image of what at first appeared to be Cupid coming down from the sky, but which then took the form of a nine year-old overweight boy with a towel wrapped around his shoulders. When he saw that I was awake, he took a deep breath, and prepared to relay to me the information that could no longer wait, which was, (drumroll please)…”Ummm…that boy has a frog.”

Now – if I had been completely awake, I probably would have had a more appropriate reaction to this statement, if there is such thing as an appropriate reaction to this statement. Like, if I were walking through the mall, and some random fat kid came up to me to inform that some OTHER random kid had a frog, I probably would have had something charming and witty to say, like, “Well, maybe if you’re a good boy, and you stop eating ice cream for breakfast, Santa Claus will get YOU a frog one day. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m on my way to Old Navy, so if you’ve lost your parents, the information booth is over there.” Or something like that. But, since I was still so groggy, and utterly taken aback by this information, my reaction was simply to squint harder at him while saying absolutely nothing.

Once again, “That boy…has a frog.” Still, nothing from me. Then, his eyes led me in the direction of a group of kids huddled in the far corner of the pool. I realized that one of the kids had found a frog in the nearby bushes, and brought it into the pool to show everybody else. I suppose that this kid had assumed, once I realized what was transpiring, that I would immediately jump out of my lounge chair, put and abrupt end to all of these frog-like shenanigans, and give him the Gold Medal for Courage for alerting me to this dire situation. But, instead, I turned back to him and, still not sure what to say, uttered, “Uhhh…I’m not the lifeguard.”

All hope was lost. “Hey kid – guess what? The tall, skinny guy who’s passed out in his lounge chair, which is facing AWAY from the pool while 89 kids are in potential danger of drowning ISN’T the lifeguard. In fact, the first question on the lifeguard exam is multiple choice – ‘To be an effective lifeguard, you must be a) awake or b) asleep?' – and the answer isn’t ‘b.’ Maybe the next time there’s a frog-related emergency, you can alert one of the nine 16 year-olds wearing bright red shirts that say ‘Lifeguard,’ OR, you can stop being such a tattle tale and go pet the frog like everybody else. I could care less about the frog, especially considering it’s probably the cleanest thing that’s been in the pool all day. And furthermore, where are your parents? Don’t you have a more immediate authority figure in the area that you could have alerted, or did they just drop you off at the pool this morning, and tell you that if you happen to see any slimy amphibians, to contact the person closest to you who seems most capable of diffusing such a situation, and if this person is sleeping, do not hesitate to wake him up?” These were my thoughts as I drifted back to sleep.

One of the real lifeguards eventually came over and removed the frog from the premises, which allowed the fat kid to go back into the pool, so he had somewhere to blow his nose. Word has since leaked to all of the other pool kids that, if any outside animals manage to make their way into the pool waters, I am NOT the person to approach. I have placed a sign on my lounge chair that says as much, which includes an illustration of a frog giving the middle finger. Nobody wakes me up anymore, but they still splash me.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

Just reading through some of your posts. This is really great. You've got a new reader for sure!

Tim

Anonymous said...

Well, this sounds like a blatant case of discrimination against frogs and I know a good lawyer in New Brunswick. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Kermit

CMB said...

After I read this the other day, I was flipping through my Real Simple magazine. There was a reader write on section about what people love about the summer and there was one from a woman in Morganville, NJ who drops her kids at the pool. I thought of you - how weird is that?