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Perfect summer job turns into problem child experience

With summer almost here, I'm sure many of you are looking for jobs. Because all the normal, steady jobs are taken already (I don't think there's an available mime or pimp position anywhere near Charlottesville), you may need to branch out to other possibilities. I would like to strongly recommend being a camp counselor.

Taking care of kids at a day camp is non-stop excitement, basically because most children stop taking their Ritalin over the summer. As a counselor you'll be able to kick off your shoes, let your hair down, and enjoy nature. However, make sure not to literally kick off your shoes and let your hair down or you might have to enjoy Lyme Disease and leeches.

The reason I so highly recommend this job is because a couple years ago I was a camp counselor, and now, I want others to go through the same painfully traumatic experience I went through. Maybe I can further persuade you by telling you of the incredibly fulfilling experiences I had on the first day of camp.

It was hell before I even got on the camp's grounds. On the bus ride on the way to the camp, one 5-year-old was doing some sort of dance which resembled the Macarena. When I asked him where he got his moves, he informed me that he "really had to pee" (technical terminology). He requested that I let him pee out the window of the bus. Although I did entertain the idea of tossing him out the window, I didn't think relieving himself out of the window would be appreciated by the children in the back of the bus. Luckily, the kid survived the trip without any noticeable bladder explosion.

Once at the camp, some other counselors and I took the 15 kindergarteners down to the lake. There I learned the first of several important rules of the kiddie world: Small children don't care or give any thought to the consequences of their actions.

One little boy, who we'll call "Lucifer," immediately ran into the water up to his knees. He gave no thought to the fact that he would be wearing wet, muddy shoes for the rest of the day. Because it would have been cruel to make him walk around barefoot, we simply tied him to a hand truck like in "Silence of the Lambs."

Next, we had to take the children to the pool. In the changing room I learned rule number two of their world: Five-year-olds see clothing as unnecessary and restraining. Clothes are just holding them back. Once they got naked, they ran around the changing room like 15 grasshoppers in a small jar - just jumping happily and banging their heads into the walls.

After bribing the children with the promise of more naked time later, we got them all to put on some sort of cloth that covered the area between the waist and knees. I then learned rule number three: If an adult makes a rule, a child with an IQ of 50 can find at least 3,267 ways around it.

For example, let's consider the rule "Don't get in the pool." Simple enough. First, the kids will stick every possible body part in the water without being arguably "in the pool." Next, they will realize that you said "don't get in the pool," not "don't be in the pool." Therefore, they'll accidentally fall in the pool, technically not getting in. However, since there is no rule against being in the pool, they will remain in the water. Finally, the genius kid in the group (there's always a genius kid) will find a way to evaporate the pool water, transport it over to his body, and then condense it again.

Once free swim got under way, it was basically 200 kids running around like a character from "Lord of the Flies" on acid. One of the children's favorite games was to see who could run fastest around a sign that read, "Do Not Run."

After swim time was over, it was back to the changing room for more 5-year-old naked time, which had quickly become the children's favorite time of day. Kids from other groups would sell periods of their naked time on the black market. You could hear deals going down around the camp, "I'll give you five minutes of my naked time for your juice box."

Rule four: When kids want food, they expect to get it. Luckily it was snack time. Yet, just because there is a time designated for snacking does not mean the camp had remembered to buy food. So, I just told the kids the truth. I told them their mommies had worked in cooperation with several boogiemen to steal and devour the snacks. The kids didn't understand except for the few who wet themselves.

Next rule: Small children want to be carried - everywhere. And kids are like dogs when it comes to being carried. They always mark their territory. Some just smear mud on your shirt. Others leave gum, bite marks, scratch marks, dog doo, kid doo, a wet spot, drool, hair or 14-legged creatures.

Thankfully, we had arts and crafts next. The children finally stopped whining about lunch because they ingested enough paint and Elmer's Glue to tide them over.

At lunchtime I learned rule number six: Kids like jelly and juice; bees like jelly and juice; kids hate bees; bees can sting. Lunch consisted of bees chasing screaming 5-year-olds around the camp. Then, when the bees fell to the ground with laughter, the kids hunted them down and threw rocks at them. The rocks were enough to unite the entire bee community against them. What I witnessed that day was, I believe, more intense than the battle of Gettysburg.

On the front line, half the children swung sticks at the bees, as a second line of kids threw rocks, food and each other at the bees. Initially, the kids successfully tricked the bees into retreat. However, the bees then launched a counter offensive using guerrilla warfare. Five-year-olds were dropping left and right, and the bees triumphed. Afterward we took the whole group to bathe in calamine lotion and finally sent them home.

I hope I've convinced you that childcare is a fun-filled, high-energy opportunity that you should look into. If you'll excuse me, I need to go apply for a telemarketing position.


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