Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scanners, Mowing Lawns & Things You Just Shouldn’t Learn How To Do

I upset one of the yearbook photographers last week. I know that little tidbit probably doesn’t surprise anyone. Bless his heart, he wanted me to show him how to use the scanner.

Sorry,” I said. “I don’t know how.”

“What?” he asked in mortified disbelief.

“No, really,” he tried again, “I need you to show me how.”

“No can do,” I said. “I don’t know how. Have Mikey show you tomorrow.”

He sort of harrumped and walked away. I don’t believe he believed me. But honestly, I truly, really don’t know how.

Blame it on my mother.

When I was much younger (OK, OK, OK, make that much, much, much younger), she gave me this little bit of advice– “Don’t ever learn how to do something unless you plan to do it forever.”

That’s how learning to mow a lawn slid effortlessly into my No. 1 slot of things I never learned how to do. (I can proudly say that not one--nadda, zippo, zilch-- blade of grass has ever been sliced or diced by my hand. No siree, Missy. Just ask my husband because, after all, forever really is a long, long time.)

So you can see how learning to operate that scanner just naturally worked its way up there too. (Although I would like to point out, I am at least one step head of Mr. Yearbook Photographer. Jeepers, at least I know you have to turn on the computer the scanner is attached to before it will work.)

That scanner incident naturally got me to thinking (and we all know what happens when that happens). Well, like I said, I got to thinking about all the things that we just never, ever should learn how to do. Drum roll pah-leese…

Richie’s Top 5 Things
One Should Never Learn How To Do
Or You’ll Be Stuck Doing Them Forever
(And Forever Really Is A Long, Long Time

No. 5… Be a cheerleading sponsor
I don’t even think that one needs an explanation. If you’ve ever known one (remember one of my BFFs was one), you know why. Have you seen all the things cheerleading sponsors have to do and put up with? Just the mere thought of coordinating a pep rally makes me hyperventilate.

And, of course, have you ever noticed that the adjective “psycho” always seems to attach itself to “cheerleading mom”? Hails bails, they’ve made movies on the subject. You also must have a high level of cuteness to come up with all those clever decorations, spirit sticks and pep rally themes. I mentioned all this to my hallway monitoring compadres and the cross country coach’s eye started twitching at the mere mention of it. Somehow, somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away, she actually did a stint as a cheerleading sponsor. The three of us shuddered just thinking about it.

No. 4… Math
Now before you hata’s start emailing me on the importance of math and the greatness of numbers, let me just say I only included math because, quite frankly, it makes my head explode. I’ve also discovered as I age, my brain has automatically started erasing anything and everything related to math. Gone so far? Those once memorized multiplication tables for nines, eights and sevens. I fear the sixes won’t be far behind.

No. 3…Lesson Plans
Do they really ever mean anything? Could anyone really ever follow one? When I think of lesson plans, I think of Macbeth’s soliloquy: “…it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (Uh-oh, I think I just called myself an idiot.)

No. 2…Calligraphy
People who know how to do that have a special place in my heart because anytime (and every time) someone needs something on a certificate or award that person with that particular talent gets the fun job of spending the rest of that day hunched over with quill in hand and ink at the ready. But I, my friends, can thankfully exclaim…“Not It!”

And now for our No. 1 Thing One Should Never Ever Learn How To Do (Can I pah-leese get an “Amen, sister”?)…

No. 1…Befriend a pica
Oh it all began seemingly innocuous enough, learning about points and picas (pronounced pahy-kuh.) That, of course, was merely the gateway. Before I knew it, I owned a pica pole and was discussing one pica margins, dominant elements, secondary coverage, ladders and fonts. If I knew all of that would have morphed me into a yearbook and newspaper adviser, well, I think maybe I would have, should have purposefully mispronounced it and queried, “Pee-ka? What’s a Pee-ka? Margins? Are we talkin’ about stock margins?”

But no siree, Missy, I didn’t do that, and now 20-plus years later, I’m forever a publications adviser.

And, trust me, my friends, there won’t be any kind of bail out--government or otherwise--to rescue me from all of this.


Clix said...

Or you could just be MEANER. I know how to do most Yearbook Foo on the computer, but I also taught several of my students how to do that last year. So now when Newbie Gremlin says to me "but I don't know HOW to set up my page!" I say, "Arty Gremlin knows how to do it. She'll walk you through." And I make sure to remind Arty Gremlin not to TOUCH the mouse or keyboard (which isn't easy!)

But then, when Confused Gremlin comes to me with the same complaint, I can say, "Newbie Gremlin knows how to do that. She'll walk you through."


Anonymous said...

Amen sister! It's too late for me & Math, so I'll just stick mowing the lawn there in my list. (thanks for the heads-up on the picas, I once did a stint as yearbook advisor....not my calling)

Tim said...

Excellent advice from your mother, something I have followed in my job. I've never learned much about Microsoft Office and as a result, I've never been called on to do much training on the package. That allows me more time to learn stuff like Google Earth and video editing, which is a whole lot more fun.

As to math, as a former math teacher, I suppose I should object to item number 4. But I can't. In the real world, there are plenty of people who are very successful (and quite happy) without much background in the subject.

However, I do wish the general public had some understanding of basic statistics. We might have fewer people wasting their money on the lottery.

askthehomediva said...

As much as it pains me to say, you, of course, are right about that little math thing. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I tried for years to avoid learning how to pump my own gas. I finally had to give up that battle, but I still do it as infrequently as possible.

The lawnmower is definitely on my list and will stay there.

HappyChyck said...

OMG! I just wanted a teaching job, and so I said I'd do yearbook. And now forever...

I did get out of it one year when I started teaching at a new school. But then I had to teach some really mean kids, and I didn't want to do that anymore, but I hadn't really proven by myself as a teacher to get a sweeter deal. All I said was, "Oh yes, I have 7 years experience doing yearbook" and BAM! I have much nicer students...but again forever stuck with yearbook...

Melissa B. said...

I follow your mother's sage advice more often than not. What a wise, wise woman! And I agree wholeheartedly with you on the others, ESPECIALLY the lesson plans! I almost gave Glynn Bates a heart attack over that. Picture the young(er)(ish?) Mrs. Scribe, speaking to her Principal, who was also the English administrator, who also had held Mrs. Scribe's job Many Moons Ago.

Principal: I love your lesson plans. Such wonderful attention to detail! And you always seem to come "full circle" so nicely!
Mrs. Scribe: Why, thankyouverymuch!
Principal: When do you do most of your planning?
Mrs. Scribe: Oh, usually about 6:30 a.m. on the Beltway.

The Principal, needless to say, was not pleased! Oh, and BTW...I have a 25-year-old Pica Pole from my days at the DMN. Check it out!

loonyhiker said...

I have to admit that I never learned to mow the grass either (I am highly allergic to fresh mowed grass - that is my story and I'm sticking to it!). But I confess to being a cheerleader sponsor for 8 long years. Now I wouldn't even tell anyone that or else I would get stuck with it again!

askthehomediva said...

SHHHHHHHH! Somethings are best left unsaid ;-)