How to Turn $120 into $10,020

In no particular order, here is a list of things that don’t come naturally to me: fashion, being nice, sports of any kind, teaching things. There are more but those are the main ones. I was horrendous at these things before but quarantine has made me practically allergic to them.

In regards to fashion, I’m currently rotating between four shirts. I use ‘rotating’ loosely because what’s really happening is I change my shirt only when absolutely necessary. And it’s only getting worse. This morning I went to put on shirt number three (my favorite) and discovered it had holes in it. I wore it anyway. In my defense, I had already taken it off the hanger.

TJ120

My already non-existent fashion sense isn’t the only thing in decline: my patience is now in the negative. I didn’t even know that could happen. I can predict when I’m going to be annoyed. It’s easy because it’s all the time.

So it’s never been a better time for me to have to teach something.

I take back what I said about my things being in no particular order. Teaching things is actually 1 through 4. A few weeks ago I had an appointment to teach someone how to use their Facebook business page. The lesson is still ongoing. The questions haven’t stopped and at this point, the only way I know how to make them stop is to just delete their page and tell them Facebook went out of business.

I’ve known I could never be a teacher since I was in grade school. During a math lesson, my 3rd-grade teacher, Miss Guerra, requested that I work with a fellow peer named April on our assignment. It made zero sense. Nobody else was teaming up and on top of that, April wasn’t even a friend of mine because she didn’t know who the Power Rangers were. I didn’t get it but I, begrudgingly, grabbed my shit and sat next to her.

4 seconds later, I got it.

April couldn’t understand why the number 23 wasn’t written 203 because 20 and 3. Miss Guerra thought she would get it if another 8-year-old explained it to her. I couldn’t even teach myself how to properly brush my hair but I was somehow qualified to teach math. (I’m not kidding on the hair thing. That same year my parents had to cut a knot out of my hair that was the size of a golf ball. I’ve only slightly improved since then.)

The situation made me want to drop out of school. My explanation of “that’s how it is just write it” wasn’t working and it was the only thing I had in my arsenal. Eventually, I gave up and told her to keep writing it the way she thought was correct. In my defense, I wasn’t the teacher. My teacher wasn’t even the teacher. To this day I think about that time and wonder if April ever figured out how numbers work. In case she hasn’t, I would like to formally apologize to every bank teller she’s ever dealt with. She doesn’t want to withdraw $10,020. She wants $120. I know.

Believe it or not, this story has a point. In the time of the corona (we’re on a first-name basis now), we all have an opportunity to figure out what we really want to do. I’ve always thought that one of the dumbest questions kids get asked is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I know people in their 30s that are still trying to figure that out, how is a 6-year-old supposed to know? The answer is: they don’t. That’s why they come back with stupid shit like mermaid, or Nemo, or robot (which, I guess if you really think about it, isn’t a bad response considering robots will eventually replace us all).

Instead of asking “what do you want to be?” to a bunch of know-nothing first-graders, let’s start asking “what do you like to do?” when they get to be a bunch of know-it-all pre-teens. I’ve loved and have written since I was a kid but no one ever talked to me about what I loved doing. So when asked the career question, my answer was always something that sounded like a grown-up job (my 8-year-old answer was “Judge” so I could throw everyone in jail, and the reason for that is coming up in another post).

Now’s the time to ask yourself: “what do I like to do?” “What makes me happy?” If you don’t know the answer then go backward and ask yourself what do you hate doing. I have nothing but respect for teachers (although I’m still on the fence about Miss Guerra) and parents who are temporarily filling that role right now. I could never do it, fuck that.

Things suck right now. Things are tough and they’re shitty. But if you felt this way before the pandemic, and you’re in a position to change it, then go for it. You might as well. If April can make $10,020 out of $120, then you can do anything too.

Side note: Sometime during my freshman year of high school, I was at a barbecue with my parents and my dad’s friend showed up with his new girlfriend: Miss Guerra. She looked at me and said, “Hiiii, I remember you”, and I said, “I remember when you made me try to teach April math”. She giggled and then walked away to go say hi to other people that she hadn’t tried to make do her job. I haven’t seen her since. The End.

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