Posted on August 2, 2009


as unpredictable and erratic as individual children between the ages of 6 and 12 can be, as a whole, they are amazingly consistent. somehow, they all prescribe to the same sense of fairness (i.e. things must be made fair when it affects me negatively and damn you to playground hell otherwise), hold the same loathing for adult authority, and find something redeeming (if not downright amazing) about High School Musical.

they also all ask the same questions.

I guess part of the fun in working with kids – especially the ones that I work with – is that they speak without filters. tact doesn’t exactly appear early on in the list of developmental traits. I mean, this is kinda what youtube was made for, isn’t it? lots of people enjoy watching NASCAR for the potential of a flaming wreck; I enjoy talking with kids for the potential of them saying something crazy.

of course, as some unfortunate people who attend NASCAR races know, waiting for a crash can also mean that a piece of wreckage could fly at your face and break your jaw. similarly, waiting for kids to say funny things can lead to hearing really hilarious, sometimes mean, and always puzzling questions… about you.

so, in reaction, here’s a FAQ to provide answers the kids so desperately seek.

Q: Are you Chinese or Mexican?
A: Neither. Guess what I am and I’ll give you a prize.
note: only one kid has guessed correctly, and he was Korean.

Q: Why is your hair so crazy?
A: Because it is. I don’t know what else to do with it short of cutting it all off, and you don’t want to see that. My head is uuuuuh-gly. And also because you keep touching it, so stop.

Q: What language do you speak?
A: English, por que? I also speak un poco espanol.
note: Jaws tend to drop due to my impeccable spanish accent, especially when it’s limited to use in five words. Also, the kids are obviously looking for an answer like “vietnamese” or “chinese,” but I’m not going to give that up so easily.

Q: Why don’t you take off a few pounds?
A: Why don’t you?
note: I’ve never actually said this, though there are some kids I could easily say this to and be justified in doing so.

Q: Why are you a jerk?
A: I know.
note: this usually gets a pretty good laugh.

Q: Why is [place of my employment/their membership] so boring?
A: Well, for what you’re paying, I’d say it’s pretty awesome. I understand that losing to me in ping pong every day might get kinda boring, but to be honest with you, for me the thrill of victory knows no minimum age. Here, let’s play connect 4. At least you haven’t lost to me already. Or, you can fill out some grant paperwork and tell me how that feels.

Q: Why do you sag your pants?
A: It’s really a combination of things. First, you have no idea how much I used to sag when I was a little older than you are now. Back then, we had something called JNCO jeans and miller’s outpost super baggy jeans, and you don’t have nothing on those now. Secondly, I have oddly proportioned waist, hips, and butt, so that kinda makes the pants hang a bit more than I’d like them to. Lastly, I’m trying to relate to you in any way I can. This is why you actually saw me do the stanky leg once a few months ago.

Q: Are you rich?
A: [uncontrollable laughter]

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