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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kids, Don't Try This At Work


First there was Take Your Daughters To Work Day. Every boy in America had a hissy fit because their sisters got a day off school to go hang out and make photocopies of their faces with Mom. Then there was Take Your Daughters and Sons To Work Day, and little brat boys everywhere were appeased to be living in a just world.

It’s a good thing I don’t have unprotected (or, for that matter, any) sex with females, because I would make a dreadful father. I have absolutely no patience or tolerance for the annoying. In between calls to the child abuse hotline to report myself, I’d be telling my toddler to shut up and quit acting like a baby. I learned from my mother that some people are just not cut out for parenting. She proved it time and again.

I wonder what strippers and porn stars do with their kids on this holiday. “C’mon honey, if you’re really good Mommy will let you be key grip on her new Eskimo movie, The Iceman Cometh.” What do bus and taxi drivers do? Or airline pilots? “Okay, little Brittani. Now you take the wheel!”

I say, make this holiday mandatory. Sure, it might cost you $4000 for a plane ticket for your kid to come join you in that B-1 bomber above Fallujah, but nothing builds love more than sharing an MRE and a cigar after a spending a long day with your own flesh and blood, napalming civilians and insurgents. And to the Bush administration, what’s the difference, anyway?

Unfortunately, being gay and childless leaves me feeling a little out of place on Take Your Offspring to Work Day. I mean, every day for me is Take Your Sandwich To Work Day, but it’s somehow not as fulfilling as it appears to be with parents on Take Your Kids Day. I once asked if I could bring my dog in, since she is the next best thing to a daughter. I was told no, that she would be too disruptive. Hey, at least my dog would never make projectiles with rubber bands and uncoiled paper clips. She’d just lie quietly until it was time to go out and mess up the landscaping some. Which would you rather do, step in poop or lose an eye?

Apparently I am looking remorseful every time this day rolls around. Unfortunately, my remorseful look and my “I wish all these screaming children would shut the hell up” look are indistinguish-able. That look tends to make parents feel sorry for me, or so they say. In reality, though, by the time 8:30 rolls around, at least one parent is already sick of breaking up fights among the three kids she hauled in, so she’ll bring them to me with a request for me to “find something for them to do.” After their Mom goes back downstairs, chanting, “great God almighty, free at last,” I usually send the kids over to the copier to see how many times they can xerox their faces before they get in trouble with someone who cares more than I do, or until they get blurred vision or, preferably, migraines. I then see it as my job to give them a couple OxyContin pills, and they are no trouble after that. They hardly bother me at all, but instead tend to sit quietly and drool, leaving me free to get back to work.

No, no, not really. I would never do that. OxyContin is a formulary, and generic Percocet is cheaper and works just as well for children under 12.

If you end up being a baby-sitter during Take Your Kids Day, here are some things to say and do that will help you get through the day and get the kids out of your hair and back to their parents where they belong.

1. “Tell you what, kid. Go downstairs and see if Mommy will give you her credit card, then bring it back up here, and I’ll show you a Web site that has some really cool bear videos.” When their mom hears “internet” and “credit card” in the same sentence, she’ll get alarmed, and she’ll recall the kids to stay with her the rest of the day. But if you’re lucky, Mom might think they’ll be viewing Yogi and Boo-Boo cartoons and allow it. Won’t she be surprised when the Visa bill arrives and her children are having unexplainable nightmares.[*]

2. “For the next hour, we’re going to play a game called, ‘This Is The Kind of Job You’ll Have if You Don’t Stay in School.’” Then make them vacuum the carpet or hand out paper towels in the bathroom. Or, in my case, actually perform my job.

3. Buy them as much candy and soda from the vending machines as they can consume. Just when they start bouncing off the walls, tell your boss you have a family emergency. Return the kids to their parents, and leave work for the rest of the day. Make sure you lock your office in order to avoid retaliation.

4. Save your old inkjet cartridges, and then have the kids refill them for you. When the kids are sufficiently magenta, put on some coveralls and escort them back to their parent. Next year they’ll pick on someone else to baby-sit.

5. Give them the phone book. Tell them to make a two-sided photocopy of it. At five o’clock tell them to make sure they lock up when they leave.

6. Take them to the break room and see how many minutes it takes for a toner cartridge to explode under microwave radiation. Make sure it is only the child, and not you, who appears on the security camera footage.

The best thing to do, though, is to ignore all of the above, but just mark you calendar. Take Your Daughters and Sons To Work Day is always the fourth Thursday in April. It’s springtime and beautiful outside. Next year I’m taking back this holiday and proclaiming it Take Myself to the Beach Day. I suspect I’ll run into a lot of my childless co-workers, and I won’t be missed at the office.

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