Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Job Title Is Not the Job

Here is a little light-hearted treat. I've been getting way too intense lately. That isn't the only mode I have. Here is an essay I wrote for a freshman compostion class that was a hit with prof and classmates and later with family and friends.

The thesis restated: babysitting isn't about sitting on the baby!!!

Again, this is a teaser. The rest can be found at Joywrite. Follow the link in the title. Enjoy!

To paraphrase Shakespeare: “What’s in a name? A job by any other name is still a job.” That may be so, but there are some jobs which have titles which are veritable misnomers. Take babysitting. For the uninitiated the word conjures up visions of sitting in a rocking chair watching TV while the baby sleeps blissfully in his crib. The most strenuous thing they imagine might be involved is tiptoeing down the hall during commercials to peek at the little angel. These people are the ones who believe that babysitters who charge a dollar per hour are stealing their wages. Ha! I shall quickly disabuse them of this crass misconception. The term babysitting is very misleading. In the first place it is not always a baby and in the second place there is very little sitting involved--unless one were to consider sitting on the baby!

A good example of this would be my first babysitting job. I was just eleven. He was just four. His mother, our neighbor, was just stepping across the street to the store. She’d be right back. His name was Thumper--this was the Bambi generation--and all I had to do was watch him to make sure he didn’t run out into the four-lane street, or into the house except to use the bathroom, or wander onto the high-school parking lot adjacent to the backyard.

I took my duty very seriously that day. I watched Thumper ride his trike up and down the driveway, never more than half a dozen paces behind him. I watched him turn summersaults. After showing him how, I watched him stand on his head. And I watched him draw with a purple crayon all over the side of their white stucco house. I was very gullible in those days. I believed everything everybody ever told me. I believed Thumper when he said his Mommy wouldn’t care. Well his Mommy must have had his number because she told him, “Wait til you father gets home!” But she told me, “Wait til I get my purse.” He got a piece of her mind. I got a quarter and a big piece of watermelon. These were the days sitters got fifty cents an hour and watermelon cost two cents a pound. I guess the important thing was that I hadn’t watched him run into the street. Let me point out for the obtuse: I never once sat down!

I was somewhat older and somewhat wiser when I took on a family of four rambunctious kids between the ages of ten years and ten months.....

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