When you attend the same family Bible Camp every July for almost 30 years, you can count on being asked to help out.
And this time, they have the wrong volunteer for the job.
They asked me to do the evening coffee – which I don’t drink and can’t make and it’s served in 50 cup urns that require hefting.
I generally try to avoid hefting (double hernia surgery and all).
When our Camp Committee asked me to give it a go I waited two months to reply, hoping someone else had stepped into the gap.
“You’re our only hope, Obi Wan,” they replied.
So I got the scoop (rim shot) from my coffee guru girlfriend, bought supplies, and hauled it all up the mountain.
They hadn’t counted on my tea fetish.
Here’s the thing.
Don’t volunteer for stuff unless you’re willing to be a hot mess with it.
Do or Do Not. There’s no fun in “Sort Of”.
That night, in a dark and pouring rainstorm, a few brave souls discovered that an American had set up the real deal tea bits.
“Oooooh”s and “Aaaaah”s warmed the cockles of my heart.
(Of course you have heart cockles, Google it.)
On the other hand, coffee addicts were making the same face and whimpers over their own tiny cup of comfort.
“Maybe I sleep on a bunked,” said the whimpers, “and maybe I’ve lost track of my kids for the tenth time today and maybe everything I own is covered in mud, but for these five minutes – I almost feel human.”
The next day, the Committee is seeking a couple more volunteers to help out at Carnival Night. Who will man a booth, play a game, hand out prizes for the 7-12 year olds?
This is the part where you attempt to fade into the background by staring at the ceiling and acting distracted by your fingernails.
DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT.
They need a volunteer for the face painting booth.
My artistic talents are limited to drawing a smiley face on a bandaid.
Unless the booth involves spackle, rollers, and fat blue tape, I am the wrong volunteer for this job.
Have you seen me paint a wall?
There is always collateral damage.
I can’t be expected to paint a face without masking off the rest of the child’s body.
At least the wall holds still.
Speaking of which, I was also asked (begged, let’s get down to it) to put something together for the 3rd grade class for performance night. You know, when each class climbs up on the stage and sings a little song or recites a little verse about what they learned all week.
I walk with a group of moms who not only have ‘been there done that’ for a million years, but have been trying to pass on the T-shirts. Nobody but nobody wants this job.
How many versions of “This Little Light of Mine” can you take?
I raised my eyebrows, leaned into Mrs. Committee Persons’ personal space and whispered, “Fine. But we’re doing this my way for once. I’m sick of being bored. I’m lighting things on fire.”
She didn’t bat an eye.
“Fine,” she replied, “just turn in your receipts at the end of the week.”
I walked away muttering to myself, “There’s gonna be fireworks and lasers and a fog machine! I’m gonna have acrobats and a live rhinoceros! We’re gonna reenact the Exodus and release thousands of little frogs into the audience!”
That’s how you get a standing ovation, baby.
Well, maybe a running ovation.
Also, hopefully, they never ask you to volunteer again.