Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Prompt: Career Day “Leaf from a Book”

This is for a prompt community on Facebook. I was not really able to follow the prompt.

CAREER DAY. You've agreed to give a talk at your child's school for Career Day. Not only do you hate public speaking, you found out yesterday that you've been fired from your job - and you haven't told your kid yet. Write what happens when you go to the school to present. (500 words or less).

486 words

So yeah, Career Day is not a thing that is going to happen. You thought about it, about going through the entire ordeal, and there was just no way. You are not very good at public speaking, and you know you will not have a single good thing to say about your job or anyone you were working with. But how are you going to break it to the kid? Not just the “Your dad cannot talk about his job because he does not have one right now,” but also the, “dad has been looking for a new job for a while now, and now he has more time to find one,” part.

You call the teacher to explain. (It feels extremely awkward doing this, but at least you are not doing this in person.) She tries to talk you into coming in anyway, and you respond with a brief and not very charming story from your childhood about a similar situation that ended in disaster. After this story, she agrees that it would be a bad time. She also doesn’t mind very much when you tell her that you plan on having the kid skip class on Career Day.  

And what is this about skipping class? Are you honestly thinking of pulling the same “show the kid a good time before the bad news” shtick your dad pulled on you? Okay, no, it is not in any way exactly the same. You have been pretty good at coming up with entertaining (and occasionally educational) activities without an accompanying bad news chaser in the past. (Your dad did it all the fricking time. It drove you up the wall when you were a kid. Right now though, you are feeling pretty damn sympathetic.) The kid will probably still pick up that something is wrong because the kid is not dumb, but at least you are not working at a karmic disadvantage.

The skip day goes really well. The kid definitely senses there is a problem though. She is still more than happy to take advantage of the situation. (You were the same way when you were a kid.) You take her to see a movie she has wanted to see, and after that, you go out to dinner. After dinner, on the way home, you tell her you lost your job. You also explain a little of why you did not do the Career Day. Just the high lights, and leaving out ninety nine percent of the swearing. “So that’s what happened when Pop Pop came to school after he got fired. I am not saying I would have gotten that mad, but at least no one will make fun of you because your dad has ‘rabies’ or something.” 

The kid thinks about it. “That’s okay,” she says. “Did you punch your manager, like Pop Pop did?”

“No,” you laugh. “I thought about it really hard though.”