I wanted my next job to be more structured (with state required minimum wage) and since I like kids I decided to apply as a Counselor in Training (CIT) at the local zoo where they held a summer camp. Since I’m the same height as most 9 year olds I applied to watch the 5 year olds, the youngest group. They gave me the 12 year olds the majority of which were several inches taller than me. Worse, one of my best friends did get the 5 year old group and all of those kids were so cute. One looked like Harry Potter!

There was absolutely no training involved. We were put in charge of distributing snacks twice a day which involved pouring animal crackers into a few bowls, filling dixie cups with juice and peeling orange slices. We were never instructed to wash our hands before handling the food and the table that we prepared our bowls/cups on was covered in bird shit from the roaming seagull gang that would fly overhead randomly. I have literally experienced a shit storm, where a large group of birds flew overhead and pooped all at once. It was like rain, except I wouldn’t recommend trying to catch any drops on your tongue. Also it was impossible to try to get it out of your hair.

Every group had an animal as their mascot and we were the Giraffes. This was important because at various times during the day everyone in the camp would sing a song ending with the line: We are the [animal]s and we say [animal noise]. So if you were in the lion group, you would sing, “We are the lions and we say ROAR!” Do you know what noise giraffes make? That’s right, they don’t make any noises. So we sang, “We are the giraffes and we say [silence]”. Except these were 12 year olds, so they started making up noises or shouting profanities.

There were two CITs for every group and my partner was a bastard. He spent all summer pulling my hair, encouraging the kids to do bad things and using his watch to flash the sun in my eyes. The orangatan probably would have made a better partner. One day the Counselor in charge of my group pulled me aside and desperately asked me to take over. She needed to go to the bathroom immediately. Fine. All I have to do is engage the kids in learning more about elephants. I had a fact sheet, so I started asking them random questions like “That elephant looks big, how much do you think the average elephant weighs?” It seemed to be going well, until my bastard partner grabbed the clipboard and said “elephants poop a lot, how loud do you think an elephant’s fart is?” Not only did it cause me to lose control of the kids, but then they wanted to know the answer! In the days before Smartphones, I was a dud who couldn’t answer.

By the end of the summer I had given up and could not have cared less about the damn program. I vowed to hate all children and get another job far away from kids. Too bad the only job I could get was with more children…

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