Archive for April 28th, 2006

The Laughter of a Child

The awesome thing about being a fabulous and single New Yorker who doesn’t possess the ability to say no is that you get roped in to things like participating in Take Your Kids to Work Day as a volunteer. This is where you wrangle the children of your co-workers, thus gaining insight into what kind of people you’re really working with based on the Wonka Scale of Brattiness. More often than not the kids at the office were Charlie Buckets, a relief to know there are a few good eggs being brought up in the world. But occasionally there were a few Veruca Salts in there who wanted to cut the face-painting line and you had to wonder how Todd from IT let his kid get that way.


The other awesome thing is that children of co-workers leave with the idea that Mommy and Daddy and their fabulous and single co-workers sit around having pizza parties, making puffy-painted picture frames and getting balloon animals made all the livelong day. Not a bad way to get paid, in the eyes of a child. Or in the eyes of a fabulous and single adult, for that matter. But there is no mention of Excel spreadsheets or writing briefs or Myspacing-your-ex-boyfriend’s-new-girlfriend or any other kind of real work that might be done in the office. It’s a weird, deceit-filled day, but we totally get free pizza and a sundae bar so let the kids believe what they want!

I was the official face painter yesterday. Never having face-painted before, I printed out 4 designs for the kids to choose from that I figured I might be able to draw. A butterfly, a nautical star, Nemo or the Bat-signal. As a volunteer, I figured I’d just do the best I could, and if it sucked, well, it was nothing some warm, soapy water couldn’t take care of. I was not not-getting-paid to be good at this or give the kids options. I was not-getting-paid because I can’t say no. But I do like children. And some of them, like Ty, the 4-year-old who plopped in front of the TV even though it had no audio and just sat there watching a soundless Tom and Jerry with such intensity that I bet he’d make a really great contributor to Television Without Pity someday, all the while adorably resting his face in his hands so that his bottom eyelids were pulled down and undoubtedly drying his entire ocular cavity from such concentration, I downright admire. I was doing this for the kids. If I made just one child in this world happier, I could sleep well. On the night of April 27th. And there were some polite, sweet, silent kids that I could have eaten up. But some kids I just don’t get. I mean, clearly I can’t draw Hello Kitty, or else she’d be on my design list. Clearly I can’t do Spongebob, so why even ask? CLEARLY. But the thickheaded children of co-workers just didn’t get it. I fear for the future if these clowns can’t even pick one of four images from my designated list. Alas, I am digressing, and it’s an unattractive digression at that.

So good was I at painting Nemo and technicolor-pore-clogging- butterflies, that one parent even asked for my (face painting) business card or if do birthday parties and was disappointed when I said “Um..I work here“. At least this fabulous New Yorker has another career if this one goes bust. But I wasn’t doing it for the money. Since…there was…no money to do it for. I was doing this for the children. (The children who chose one of the four designs, anyway.)

Who needs to get paid when you are making kids happy? Honestly. Because in my opinion, there is nothing more wonderful in the world than the laughter of your co-worker- who-doesn’t-know-we-are-co-workers’ child.