Friday, February 17, 2006

Career Day I

A small storm cloud has hung on my personal horizon for a week now, and it is at last about to break.

Today is “Career Day” for the kindergarten class at our local elementary school, where parents come in to talk about their work to groups of their kid’s classmates. This sort of thing is expected of parents over here, and by all accounts features a cast of thousands of ultra-competitive breeders. I would normally run considerable distance barefoot over broken glass to avoid that kind of exposure, but I am now committed - pinned like a butterfly to the board of my son’s expectations.

I dare say I’ll end up sat between the astronaut and the juggler.

I should have known better than to agree, but my wife trapped me with the ruthlessness innate to her gender by asking me in front of my adoring 5-year-old. It was a moment of weakness which I bitterly regret.

It turns out that they are going to fill the cavernous cafeteria with parents, and have groups of eight to ten kids visit each in turn, with a few minutes of exposition on the wonders of their work, followed by the sort of surreal questions that kindergartners specialise in. I am frantic at the thought of talking about my job even for five minutes straight, as possibly the only thing more boring than my work is hearing me talk it - a point first drawn to my attention by my wife, who has seen fit to revisit the topic at regular intervals throughout our married life. Inflicting this experience on these mere babes would be borderline abuse in my book.

At first I turn to scripture for inspiration – in this case the Book of Wodehouse – but alas my wife refuses point blank to drive me, forcing me to abandon my plan to turn up sozzled and wing it a la Gussie Fink-Nottle.

Thankfully, there is a get-out-of-gaol-free clause whereby instead of work one can talk about one’s hobbies. My boy’s teacher calls it the Lapdancer Clause, in honour of the type of job that might lead a parent to invoke it. I do not ask her what sort of “hobbies” she imagines the average lapdancer to have, as she is young and naïve, and I might unwittingly upset or arouse her. As she weighs in at about 200lbs, neither prospect appeals. In any case, although I am not a Lapdancer, I grasp the proffered straw gratefully.

While my legal hobbies are only slightly less boring than my work, I have one that at least gives the kids something to hold and feel, and about which I can talk with a fair facsimile of knowledge – antique books and maps. So I blow the dust off of a few of the less expensive 18th C maps, atlases and geographies.

As I pack my exhibits, my boy relates how he told his friend Christopher that I would be the best. “Is Christopher’s dad coming?” I ask. A shrug. “What does he do?” “He’s a fireman.”

The freak show starts at 2pm today…

Gussie Fink-Nottle, yesterday – patron saint of all school speechmakers.


R. Sherman said...

I hear you cry. I did this with the official kindergartner this year. When I told the kids I was a lawyer, one little girl said, and I quote:



Gorilla Bananas said...

Good luck, Ivan! If the maps don't work, cut to the song. I bet something from HMS Pinafore would go down a treat.

Aunty Marianne said...

I can tell you what a lapdancer does for a hobby. She blogs and does yoga.

Meet Mimi.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Thanks for the support, guys. I have two hours to get a day's work done and then race off to be in time to set up.

Mimi was interesting. A brief scan reveals that she has (or at least claims to have) a master's degree from Cambridge, and yet asks herself in her blog whether the guys she dances for actually believe that she would do her thing if there wasn't $500 a pop dangling at the end of it. Obviously a master's from Cambridge is not necessarily a guarantee of high intelligence. Fortunately her clientele are not required to have smarts or self-esteem, either, so that little airtight universe of iniquity is perfectly balanced.

I believe I shall go with "I am the very model of a modern Major General"...

PI said...

All I would adjure you to do Ivan - and I'm sure Mrs Ivan has already intimated this - is keep it simple. You are a very erudite man and having had two very erudite husbands - still have one, praise be, there can be a tendency to go flying off into intellectual realms that cause lesser minds to glaze over.
I'm sure you'll be great.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Thanks, Pi, but no worries - I can always fall back on my extensive line in gutter humour :)

HA HA HA said...

abuot this 'lappdancer claus'... so ur sayign ur hoby is laptdancing?

Anonymous said...

Sursum corda, Ivan--it's gonna be less awful than you think. Perhaps you can choose to invoke the Lapdancer's Claus to the Lapdancer's Clause and, instead of 18th century cartography, tell kids about La Condamine's expedition to Peru, and how cool it was to measure the Earth. You can spend at least five minutes talking about La C's five months in the Amazonian forest. Nil desperandum.

But I must say, that is one cool hobby.


Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi 3H - no, I don't lapdance even as a hobby. And it's for sure no-one would pay me for it either.

Thank you Des. As hobbies go, it's not as cool as, say, street luge, but it's all my medical insurance will cover...

PI said...

Don't keep us in suspenders please?

Anonymous said...

I came across your post, as i am now being the "pin Butterfly".
I see that this was write 2 years ago, and i wanted to know what happened then? How did it go?