Here's one of several things I find challenging about my job:
My kids are at camp 'cause they've broken the law in some way, shape or form. But they act incredibly entitled, demanding the utmost in accommodation, food and freedom. They do not realize yet that their actions have consequences. Nor do they realize how little they deserve luxurious accommodations after some of the things they've done to people, property or themselves.
This problem rears its head in countless situations. The campers want more, they want better, they want it now. More food, better boots, fewer chores, more games, fewer classes, fewer rules, and whatever they ask for exactly when they ask for it.
I try not to tell them no all the time. In fact, here's what I'm gonna do. I'll start saying yes to many of their requests, following up immediately with the steps to getting what they want.
Chief John, call in and get me some new boots.
("call in" means they
want me to use my walkie talkie and submit their
demand to the warehouse staff)
Sure. As soon as we fill out a PPI (personal property inventory), you can write a business letter to your family worker expressing your need. Once that's done, we'll submit both those documents. After they've been received and processed, I'll be more than glad to call the warehouse for you.
Expected camper response:
(lip smack/tooth suck) Damn, Chief John, call the fxck in! You holding' me from my NEEDS! My boots is messed up!
(usually this means
they're showing wear and don't really need to be
Chief John! Call in and get us a lifeguard.
Sure. I'll check with the MC and see when Chiefs X or Y can step away from their groups and come life guard for us. I'll also check and see when the pond might be available for us to use. When were you thinking of going to the pond?
But it's class time. You've got a Shakespeare paper due.
Expected camper response:
(lip smack/tooth suck) Damn, Chief John, you won't let us do shxt at this fxckin' camp!
Chief John! Call in and get me some fishing hooks.
I'd be glad to do that once you determine how much buyer's day money you have in your account, and whether you can afford fishing hooks. Once you've done that, you can submit a buyer's day form to request fishing hooks, and when buyer's day comes around, they'll be here for you. At that time, I will be more than glad to call the warehouse and ask if your hooks are in.
Expected camper response:
(lip smack/tooth suck) Damn, Chief John, I need 'em today!
Standard chief response:
In the future, you'll anticipate your needs and make the necessary plans.
So basically, much of what I deal with is kids who don't follow directions, break things, hurt people, and demand carefree situations of constant pleasure and ease (and to be spoken to in a respectful tone). Without knowing too much about Alzheimer's Disease, I often tease my campers and compare them to Alzheimer's patients, ambling around, bumping into trees, failing to respond to the sound of their own names or prompts delivered in their primary spoken language. Sometimes I wish I could just diaper the lot of them. But then I'd have to be elbow deep in camp shxt nine hundred times a day (my kids have very frequent needs for the toilet).
Many campers want to just do their time, "chill," (which means to do as little as possible, cause no trouble, and do nothing to stop any trouble that might be occurring around them) and get out so they can resume their lives of petty gang banging or whatever else they were doing, before getting caught again and sent away to institutions less kind than camp.
I'll keep trying. I'm really grateful to have met most of my kids. They've all got a lot of potential, even though they don't realize it. They've got promising futures even if all they care about is "now." Maybe there are myelin pills or injections the campers can take. It might just be easier to slip estrogen into their food. Hmm. I'll fill out a buyer's day form and call the warehouse!
Until that day, I've got an appointment with my sister Julie to visit the newly renovated North Carolina Museum of Art. I'm very excited to spend some time with family, and one in particular who loves art and design. More news soon. Thanks for reading!
So, as for my time off, I’m in a little shopping villagey place near the T.O. house, with expensive smoothies and wireless internet and shops that sell nothing but olive oil (sheesh, in this economy.. ). I’ve just had a smoothie and I might mosey around and look for lunch. I’m uploading youtube videos, playing around with my spreadshirt account (trying to upload more designs for t-shirts), working on doodles and drawings, trying to do paperwork, and waiting around for the next matinee of Kickass, which I’ve been wanting to see ever since getting a few of the comic books it’s based on.
More soon as it develops!! Remember to write!!
It’s rare I take time away from the studio. Right now I’ve got tons going on, and I’m only just staying on top of it. Still, this year’s 4th of July weekend was an exception I made to the grindstone at my nose.
I went with Joey, Julie and Ann to the Raleigh fairgrounds to watch fireworks. Parking was easy, leaving was a chore. But it was good to be there with my amazing family and people watch.
Now, I’m one of those typical postmodern cynics who has never worn an American flag pin. I have no patriotic bumper stickers and certainly no paraphernalia that equates being an American with being a Christian. I do not think I’m any better or any worse than anyone else for being an American, and I don’t hold the smug opinion that America is the greatest nation in the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve made plenty of wrong, hurtful, unjustified sneers at large people, and I’m working on becoming more sensitive. You can tell the difference between someone who is gluttonous, lazy and self destructive and one who simply has a big body shape. I’m not coming down on being fat. There were plenty of thin people as well crouched around their own grills, while their own children seemed to supply the What Not To Do footage for self help videos for baboons.
But there were other people at the fairgrounds. I saw parents playing with kids. I saw groups of kids gather for an impromptu game of swatting a tennis ball to each other handball style. That, I thought, was pretty creative. I liked the way those kids adapted to their circumstance of an empty, dirt field, and no other equipment than a tennis ball. They all got on really well and seemed to have a great time.
So, anyway, there I was with some of my family and tons of strangers. I’ve got a stepparent’s birthday to celebrate and another stepparent’s anniversary to honor, so the 4th of July makes me stop and consider not just my place within America, but my place within my family. Depending on the angle an observer took, America or my family could be seen as wretched. My family is rife with bad habits, divorces, anger, resentment, awkwardness, you name it. America is full of gluttonous, greedy, loud, smelly, selfish, crass, dull, ugly, obese, hoarding, conquering and smug people. On the other hand, my family has overcome a lot. We’ve dusted off, forgiven, forgotten, learned our lessons, patched up and moved on. America is full of responsible people aware of our many problems, and who wish not to jump ship and expatriate, but stick around and make the ship float better. I think I’ll stick around too.