I brought Monkey Man to the library today to get his summer reading hours logged from the past 2 weeks. He’s in their summer reading program, which, and I’m going to go way out on a limb here, was designed to give kids incentive to read during the summer. We write down how many minutes he reads every week and then we are supposed to go at the end of each week to get the hours checked in the library’s Super Secret Log Book. Here’s how it works: get your hours checked, pick a piece of plastic crap out of the prize box, enter your name for a chance to win an iPod Shuffle, and off you go. Out the door for another week of wanting to read to get a piece-of-junk-toy made in China that Mommy will throw away when you are not looking. No, just kidding, Mommy would nevvvvver do that.
We haven’t quite made it to the library at the end of each week, but the teen volunteers have been very nice and checked off Monkey Man’s hours for two weeks worth of reading. It is all about getting kids to read, right? Like, “Great job, reading! It doesn’t matter that your only mode of transportation, your mother, keeps forgetting to bring you here so we can make our notes in our Super Secret Log Book. Nope, we just care that you are reading! Because that is what this program SHOULD be all about – getting you lazy, video-gaming kids to use your brains instead of just your thumbs on a Wii controller.”
Well today, we didn’t have the cheerful and helpful teen volunteers. Nope, we had the librarian. She walked over to the Summer Reading Program table and took a look at the front cover of Monkey Man’s log book. First, she read his name. He only wrote his first name, and Miss Librarian felt the need to be snarky and said, “Oh, is Monkey Man your last name? Because I need to know your last name to crack the freakin’ code in my Super Secret Log Book. And I have to write it on the front cover.” The cheerful and helpful teens pleasantly would ask Monkey Man his last name and use their alphabetical orders skills to quietly look up his name. But no, not Miss Librarian. After 5 weeks of this program, she asked him to spell it out for her as she wrote it on the front cover, making sure to once again tell him that he really should have written his last name on the cover. And I told her she really should have taken a job that kept her locked in a room without human contact.
Okay, fine. That was annoying, but then, when she opened his log book and started stamping, she noticed that 2 weeks were not stamped. “It looks like we do not have his hours logged for these weeks. We cannot count those hours,” she announced with a scowl on her face. Or maybe it just always looked like that.
Oh, now, shut the front door, Miss Librarian. Time for Mama Bear to retort, “This is a reading incentive program, right? The purpose of this program is to get kids to read, correct? I’m sorry that I did not get my son here for 2 weeks, but he reads and should not lose those hours because his (slacker, forgetful, absent-minded) mother didn’t bring him here for the Powers That Be to check off his hours. And the cheerful, helpful teens just logged his hours.”
“Well, I’ll give him the hours (Oh, Thank You Your Library Highness! All Hail! Great One!) but he cannot fill out a raffle ticket to win an iPod Shuffle,” was her masterfully created reply. The one reason she did not want to log his hours was because it would be unfair for Monkey Man to enter the raffle for the week.
And what did my dear, sweet child say, under his breath, to me? “Mom, I don’t care about an iPod Shuffle. I have an iTouch.” Side note to readers: He bought an iTouch with his own money. He saved for about 6 months between chores, birthday, holidays, and panhandling from my parents.
Well played, Monkey Man. High Five. Obviously, the iPod Shuffle was not the draw for this kid. Lucky for me he just enjoys reading and decorating my home with tiny plastic pieces of junk. And witnessing the occasional verbal altercation between Mommy and Miss Librarian.