A True Story
Now I know what Arnold felt like
What you are about to read is the firsthand account of where I literally almost died. I am not making this up. Where I, a grownup, found myself overrun by a savage classroom of bloodthirsty and carnivorous preschoolers. I’m talking about an event laden with fear and anxiety. I’m referencing an occasion whereby one’s stamina and fortitude melt and wither in the fiery crucible of cumulative testing by hobbit-sized people.
I’m talking about…Career Day. *cue scary orchestra and lightning strike here*
Career Day is an event where an adult with a career who has foolishly volunteered to talk about it with a presentation is unfairly pitted against several small humans who will instantly:
- size said adult up for a coffin
- make prejudiced assessments about said adult’s necessity to even be on this planet, and
- systematically eradicate said adult’s patience and will to live through focusing on everything but the adult’s presentation
In short, it’s like trying to hug a pack of velociraptors.
On Wednesday, February 12th, 2020, I nearly died. My life hung precariously in the balance as I courageously endeavored to explain voiceovers to tiny humans who understand only Puffs, Potty, Pixar, and Playtime. Had it been called Poiceovers, I may have had a shot.
I started my presentation at 10:15am. Later, at precisely 10:15am, I successfully managed to lose every single child’s attention, and I do believe one of them started crying and pleading for home and please mommy not this. I might have imagined that, but…no I didn’t.
After my presentation was over, I resolved then and there that in the future, should I at any time be offered the choice between either:
- doing another Career Day, or
- being pecked by ravens, gnawed by trolls, bitten by furious fire ants and trapped inside a well with predatory flesh-eating tardigrades, electrocuted and then detonated.
I would choose #2 every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Let the Sweating commence
You know that cold, clammy feeling you get when you’re going up against 10 tiny humans whose cumulative age is still far less than your actual age? That prickly sensation that says “I think I am in danger”?
There’s a reason I do voiceovers. I do not enjoy being up in front of people, desperately trying to be some kind of funny clown in order to hold their attention. I enjoy being behind the scenes, thankyouverymuch, behind the protective glass of my studio that, in the studio-making factory, was test-rammed by eighty-three preschoolers brandishing Buzz Lightyears and sippy cups. So I know I’m safe in there.
Additionally, my armpits decided independent of my brain that this would be the time to reveal their turbo adrenaline production ability. I was sweating profusely, and I’m sure I felt an organ inside me die. There was a strange twinge, and then a dull thud from somewhere inside me as something fell off.
For you see, in explaining voiceovers to preschoolers, there is simply no explaining voiceovers to preschoolers.
The temperature in the room, having fiendishly been set by one of said preschoolers, was at a nippy 346 degrees, and my armpits produced quantities this planet has never seen before. I went there to talk about voiceovers, but we ended up floating in putrid new geology. I don’t know how it happened, but I managed to sweat quantities equal to a small ocean simply by having them all look at me.
There are things that terrify a man to his very core. Things like:
- Michael Bolton
- Being asked to dance and look cool at the same time
- Having daughters
- Having sons
- Having daughters AND sons
- The TV show Snapped
- Doing oil changes myself
And at the top of this list, small children who are not my own children, with whom I’ve established enough trust that I don’t feel I’ll be ganged up on and stabbed with crayons.
The journey of a thousand miles…
…sometimes actually is one thousand miles. After I had sweat enough liquid to buoy a small ocean liner, I proceeded to the back “Project Room” where my mobile studio was awaiting each and every child, individually, to come back and record something endearing for their parents.
My job, which someone assured me “should be totally easy”, using a dismissive wave and a condescending wink, was to somehow coax intelligible sentences out of these beings. The thing is, with children, you never know what you’re going to get. One child can be inordinately energetic from secretly ingesting Mom’s secret stash of Keebler cookies and totally engage you, and another can stare you down while in the employ of Satan, and question why you are even alive. (Note: I choose not to provide a hyperlink directly to Satan here.)
Coming up with interview questions for this species of human was nigh excruciating. When interviewing preschoolers, one must limit one’s questions to things having to do with favorite colors, favorite movies, favorite songs, and favorite voiceover artists to impale with juice boxes.
You can’t just ask them to expound on the artistic genius of Rembrandt, or posit a query about positing a query, a query on the word posit, or a posit on the word query. It’s essential that you brush up on your entire Pixar library before engaging such creatures, as your scheduled presentation time is sure to fall precisely before snack time, and said creatures will be hungry. The only way you can stave off an impending cannibalistic attack is by talking about Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from Frozen. (Important: don’t mix up those titles; little Poppy Noelle will scratch your eyes right out.)
Ultimately…my job was done, and all children had recorded something endearing for their Mamas and Dadas, and I was free to leave in peace.
I fled shrieking.
They are The Illuminati
Was it really that bad? No, I’m exaggerating just a bit, or this blog would be boring, and you’d find something else to do like sign up for Career Day. (But it really was that bad). You just know there’s some smoky back room somewhere, where a gaggle of toddlers and preschoolers are fiendishly pulling the strings around a poker table, plotting galaxial domination and creatively perfecting their sinister methods for making grown men sweat. They are succeeding. They did succeed that day, because their Overlord has trained them well. So I find it quite necessary to help out my esteemed colleagues, should you ever be seized by a bout of insanity when asked “Hey, would you like to speak at our Career Day?”
The incorrect answer is of course, ‘sure.’ The correct answer, if you’re sane, would be to create some kind of diversion that allows you to escape through a haze of smoke like Batman does every time he’s asked to speak at Career Day.
However, I am painfully aware that there are those of you out there who like to live dangerously. To flirt with fate. To live on the edge of preschooler cannibalism. So because of that, I humbly present to you seven trusty steps for surviving Career Day.
Step 1: Thoroughly plan out your Career Day agenda and load your presentation with things that most children will appreciate, like Nemo, lollipops and puppies.
Step 2: Make sure to bring shiny objects and suspend them from your clothes to ensure the utmost fascination and attention.
Step 3: Be somewhere else and don’t do Career Day. (This should actually have been Step 1).
Step 4: Whenever the urge hits you, pray a lot for protection and guidance, and for a quick extraction by a SWAT team when the preschoolers start approaching you, drooling.
Step 5: Always maintain a safe distance from any children who look as if they’re trying to concentrate too hard on what you’re saying, due to the enormous potential that they are in fact trying to strain out a dookie.
Step 6: Make sure you actually did go somewhere else and did not do Career Day.
Step 7: Kindly refuse all offers to return for next year’s Career Day, but thank them profusely for endangering your life.
There! Follow those steps, and you’re sure to succeed. I’ll be over here being pecked by ravens, and waiting for the trolls.
HEY. WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!
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