Anything for the Kids!
This post will contain some profanity. Even some profane references to children! If that troubles you, get the hell outta here and come back another day :)
William recently wrote a very entertaining post about The Office, and its effect on viewers. I was at first surprised to read, in the post and in many of the comments, how the humor in that show makes some people very uncomfortable. I find it extraordinarily funny, and not at all discomfiting. As I read what others had to say, though, I realized that I have developed a rather high level of tolerance for human behavior that horrifies (not in an axe-murdering way, but in a politically incorrect, socially inept kind of way) others. This is a product of working in the mental health field. For our own sanity, we supervisors at the agency where I work often laugh at things that just plain ain't funny. But we understand the function of the laughter, and accept that oddity about one another.
Discussing such things with Jif, I was reminded of a time when I, and others, behaved in such a way that our "humor" made someone else extremely uncomfortable. I used to serve on the Board of Trustees of a small private school where LG went to pre-school and kindergarten. I was on the board for years before she was born. It was by far the most painless such assignment I have ever accepted, because unlike other non-profit boards I've served on, this one had some money. Not a lot, but plenty enough, thanks to very good leadership by my neighbor, the board president, over a number of years. Because there was money to do almost everything we needed to do, meetings were quite painless and stress-free. Sometimes outrageously so, with lots of laughter and silliness. On the board were parents and other community residents from many different disciplines. There were educators, attorneys, techies, an architect, butcher, baker, candlestick maker. The one discipline that was not represented at that time, but was needed, was accounting -- a CPA.
The little building that houses the school is very, very old, with a lovely slate roof which needed repairing. The architect board member was given the task of getting prices from slate roofers in the area. She reported back to the board that she had been successful in getting a roofer at a decent price. She had haggled with him to get the price down, and he finally relented and told her, "I'll do it . . . but only because it's for the g*d#a^n%d kids!" For whatever reason, the lateness of the hour, the juxtaposition of profanity and "kids," whatever, we thought that was hilarious, and took up the chant, responding to every agenda item, "Yea, it's for the g*d#a^n%d kids! Anything for the g*d#a^n%d kids!"
That night, after the architect had presented her report, we had a guest arrive at the meeting. A CPA. We needed a CPA, and the director had invited him to meet us, see what we did, and determine whether he'd like to serve on the board with us. In service to the g*d#a^n%d kids. Of course, he hadn't been there for the start of the kid-cussing, knew nothing of its genesis earlier in the meeting. The thing was, none of us were able to muster enough maturity or propriety to stop cussing the kids after our guest arrived. And mind you, there was not a person in the room who had ever ACTUALLY cursed at a kid, except perhaps when we WERE kids. But that night, we picked up the roofer's persona and chatted on and on about the little b@st@ards, each one using a more heinous epithet or more absurdly profane turn of phrase, and everyone (except ONE person) laughing to the point of tears with each new agenda item.
I had been asked to investigate the possibility of purchasing a small, used bus for field trips. A "short bus," if you will. Truth is, I hadn't done my homework, but I offered a report something like this: "Rather than purchasing a bus for the little m*ther#uck%rs, I was thinking maybe we could work out an arrangement to use another organization's bus when they don't need it. I saw a Department of Corrections bus on the side of the road, just sitting there for hours, while the inmates picked up trash. There is no reason we couldn't have been hauling our little b@st@rds to the zoo while the cons were picking up the trash!"
My "report" was received enthusiastically, but with some modifications. "But if we've got the little sonsabitches on their bus, we oughtta have the inmates here at the school doing something!" A chorus of "Yea!"s, followed by suggestions: let the inmates landscape the playground while the g*d#a^n%d kids played among them; let the inmates volunteer in the classroom, teaching the little f*c#ers about "stranger danger," and on and on, each idea more WRONG than the one before.
The CPA/guest didn't contribute much to the meeting. And truthfully, I think most of us forgot he was there. At one point, I remembered, and noted the stunned look on his face. I thought at the time, "He ain't coming back."