Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

A Different Kind of FAIL Whale

with 8 comments

Follow me.

Follow me.

One of my favorite things to do is push children into oncoming traffic volunteer as a tutor/store monkey for 826 Seattle. I’m not exactly the charitable type – and the word ‘volunteer’ conjures up the image of a fresh-faced Boy Scout ready to serve, protect, and get raped for his country – but I’m no Boy Scout. Their motto is Do Your Best, a cliché surely meant for the medal-wearing Olympians in this world, and not for people who participate in contests that involve cursing, belching, or outdoing everyone’s answers on those stupid Facebook quizzes. Those people – folks like ME – adhere to a more reasonable creed: 30% Is Good Enough.  ‘Do Your Best’ is for overachieving blowhards who insist on winning Nobel peace prizes; for them, their best IS good enough, because there’s no one better in the world. ‘30% Is Good Enough’ implies you’ve worked enough – with at least one bloodshot eye open – but have no desire to continue further without knowing when the next three-day weekend will occur. Obtaining this knowledge might take two or three weeks, and no, I will not pee into that cup.  But once I return, I will continue to give a full thirty percent, one hundred percent of the time. Much like I do with volunteering, or motherhood, or life.

The previous paragraph was supposed to illustrate how I’m not the volunteer type but how my 826 gig is different. All I did was convince myself to quit volunteering and stay in bed until the meds start working forever.

It’s weird to look in the kids’ homework packets and see the exact same crappy ClipArt on the same uninformitave newsletter; the same homework modules, tedious or confusing; the same art projects or science experiments, diluted into something uninspired.  In other words:  BOOOOORING.  In different words:  OLD GROWTH SQUIRREL PIE VROOM MOTHERFUCKER.  Sometimes, to describe how the school system is failing our children, words mean nothing.  Action is needed.  Hence the volunteering.

I generally hate children – I’m one of those (and by that, I mean ‘one of those sensible people who see children for what they really are:  antimatter‘) – but I love the kids at 826.  I love almost everything about them, especially how diabolical and unnecessary they insist on seeming.

I love our debates:

Girl:  This is my ‘Thursday’ outfit.

Snotty:  This is my, ah… ‘everyday’ outfit.

Girl:   Ha!  I thought that looked familiar.

Snotty:  Well, HA!  It’s Tuesday.

I enjoy our meaningful talks about art:

Girl:  My grandma said if I keep doing well in school, she’ll allow me to continue drawing.

Snotty:  Well, good!  Because I can tell you love it, and I think you’re super talented.

Girl:  And then she said, don’t even think about this hobby as a serious career?–or she won’t ever pay for college?  She said I need to do something in, like, the sciences?–or, like, math or whatever?  I gotta figure it out, I guess.

Snotty:  … but you’re nine.

Girl:  (nods)  But my grandma is way older than that.

I even love the games we play:

Girl 1:  Give us one good reason you wouldn’t date him. (points to a 5th grader)

Snotty:  Well, off the top of my head, I’m going to go with HE’S TEN.

Girl 2:  Oh, c’mon – just play the game right.  What’s an actual reason you wouldn’t go out with him if you were our age?

Snotty:  Another reason… um, ten years old seems a little young to be dating, no?

Girl 1:  Oh my God, she’s not gonna even, like, answer.

Girl 2:  Just put yourself in our shoes!

Snotty:  He needs a haircut, he’s immature –  a side effect from his age – he’s kind of a Know-It-All, and he’s too short.  Also a result of his age group.

5th grader:  Hey!  I heard that!

Snotty:  Yeah, well then you also heard I can’t date you, for a number of reasons.

5th grader:  Hey!

Girl 1:  (scrutinizing him) He’s not that bad, and I like his name.

Snotty:  But he’s short —

5th grader:  Hey!

Snotty:  –in stature and in vocabulary.

5th grader:  HEY!

Snotty:  I rest my case.

Girl 2:  I never noticed he was so stupid or annoying.

Snotty:  I guess my work is done here.

I worry about the kids sometimes, because I’m like the Pied Piper of Failure – so half the time, I’m thinking RUN FAR AWAY FROM ME, KIDS!  THIS OLD BROWN SHIP IS SINKING!  My success story is shaped like the Titanic, is what I’m saying.  But the other half of the time, when I’m really ‘on’, and loving this gig?  …you’re probably waiting for the heart-warming explanation about how in the other half, I’m an education warrior, a champion of children, an energetic leader for the youth of tomorrow – but in actuality, my thought process can be summed up in one short phrase:  it’s Happy Hour somewhere in the world, and none of these children will be there.  Words to live by.

Easy question:  is the number .0999 closer to 0, 1/2, or 1?   My answer:  zero.  My actual answer:  “Uhmmm… well it’s not one.  I know that much.”  Ever the enthusiastic proselytizer of learning and discipline, I then asked the student a series of questions that would put her back on the road to success; if only success were defined by how long it takes to answer one simple math problem.  In that case, we should have won an award for OH MY GOD IT TOOK US TEN MINUTES TO FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT?!  You know how I figured out the answer was zero?  I asked my boyfriend.  This morning.  He’s smarter, and better with numbers, which I also call ‘figures,’ as in ‘it figures if I couldn’t do math back then, I can’t do it now.’  Which also proves another point:  math isn’t necessary for the future unless you plan on living by the Do Your Best motto (and what if your best isn’t GOOD ENOUGH).  Sometimes, math separates the jobs from the careers (also:  the men from the boys, the burritos from the chimichangas!) – can you imagine a scientist who can’t do math?  No, of course not.  They need it for all the sciencey shit that goes down in a lab, which is everything from poking nefarious bacteria to creating a lifelike clone that cures cancer and steals all your goddamn thunder.  Now:  can you imagine an unemployed creative type with very little follow-through using math every day?   Only to count out change for their next junk food run.

Okay, I’m off like a herd of fetuses, or however the saying goes.


8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. my initial thought was ‘let’s get 30% Is Good Enough t-shirts made’, but then i realized nobody who would wear one has enough gumption to actually get off their ass and have them made, let alone collect $$, size and color preferences from the rest of us.

    my second thought, that grandmother should be punched in the throat for not supporting her granddaughter better.

    yup. throat punching all around!


    April 8, 2009 at 7:36 PM

  2. My initial thought was, ‘hopefully someone will come up with some t-shirts for me,’ so congratulations. Also, the throat punching pwns.


    April 8, 2009 at 9:08 PM

  3. I was going to say something about the whole “unemployed creative type” but then I got wrapped up trying to figure out if I had enough loose change to buy some corn dogs at the grocery store so I don’t starve (man cannot, on beer alone, survive).
    Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but beer actually costs money…

    …I need a lawyer.


    April 9, 2009 at 12:52 AM

  4. Also, I bet Lindy West volunteers like, %40 of her time…


    April 9, 2009 at 12:53 AM

  5. Whatever! Fat bitch. I mean, fat bitch I love.


    April 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM

  6. I have a lawyer just for you.


    April 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM

  7. Good to know that fetuses travel in herds. I always thought of them more as solitary wanderers of the plains/savannah/tundra.


    April 10, 2009 at 4:26 PM

  8. As long as they’re not traveling near me.


    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: