Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's not a short bus, it's a long van

Before I landed in a classroom, I worked in a group home.

The ratio of kids to staff was about 14 to 1; in our classrooms, it is usually 4 to 1.

Group home community trips entailed loading up a fifteen passenger van with as many bodies as you could, and hoping to God that nobody seizured in the backseat on the way to the petting farm.

Things I found while cleaning out the van after a community trip: matches, poop, weird old pornographic novel, tons and tons of candy wrappers that I don't think anyone paid for, pieces of a CD.

Pieces of a CD were from a guy that compulsively broke CDs whenever he came across them.
He couldn't help himself.

When there was an outbreak of parasites at the group home, I was responsible for collecting a poop sample from this CD hater.

I was supposed to put a little catcher's mitt inside the toilet bowl right before the kid dropped anchor, and then whisk away the sample.

However, this guy felt a strong sense of ownership over the byproducts of his body.

When he caught wind of my intentions, he refused to use the bathroom.

Knowing him, and knowing his...regularity....I knew that one was coming before the end of the night.

He kept trying to sneak and go, but the second he heard my footsteps, he would scramble off the toilet, sometimes with his pants still down.

 I never got the sample, but I learned something important.

You cannot make someone go poop.

You just can't.

Anyways, I drove that van stuffed to the gills with the developmentally disabled all over the place.

I remember driving towards a beautiful sunset along a stretch of rural highway.

The radio was playing that song "Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette,  and one by one, fourteen impaired young men began to sing along.

I am not sure any of them knew the verses, but they sure knew the chorus (someone might have even sung annoying improvised harmony parts, like people who believe strongly in their own singing ability always do) ((that someone might of have been me, but I really hope not because that is so embarrassing))

It was like a real life musical, or an episode of The Muppet Show.

Then someone said "Look, a baby deer!"

I looked, and sure enough an adorable faun, truly a living Bambi, was standing alongside the road.

 Fourteen faces glued to the van windows to get a better look.

They oohed and aahhed.

 "Oh, oh, it's running! It run so fast!" they exclaimed.

Nobody knew where the little deer's trajectory was leading it except me.

Nobody knew how unresponsive the van's brakes were except me.

As the van cracked into the side of Bambi, fourteen voices went "OOOOOOOhhhhhhh NNNNNoooooo"

I had braked, I had braked with all I had, but it was not enough.

The van came to a stop with the deer laid flat and still, directly to the left of it.

No one said a word.

Muffled sobbing came from the passenger seat next to me.

But suddenly, miraculously, the little deer began to weakly try and pull itself off the road, using only its front hooves.

The van erupted into cheers. "IT'S OK! IT'S AWIVE! IT NOT DEAD!" There were hugs and high-fives, streaming tears of joy and thankfullness.

I took my foot off the brake and started to drive again.

"Yep, guys, I think that little fella is gonna be allllllright." I said.

And then I made a shifty sideways glance and slowly shook my head no.


  1. Knock knock, why did the deer cross the road? Wait.. crap I ruined it, there was a joke in there somewhere I swear

  2. I'm sure that deer was fine. Remember what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

    Look at Stephen Hawking.

  3. Please start working on your book soon.

  4. feryxlim-if you were jeffrey, your punchline would be "cause he wanted to!!!", said with explosive, unhinged hilarity

    Kelly-thanks! You're always so supportive

    The Jules-anything I could add to that comment would detract from it's insensitive nature

    SherilinR-thanks! My favorite part is the net, because I used two colors for the netting. I was so proud of me.

    Marianne-I have a novel going, but it is a pretty drastic shift in tone for me. It's about a man in his 60s who returns to the town of his birth to reexamine his life choices. There is a lot of slow motion sadness in it, set to piano music. And he poops his pants. A couple times. But it is not played for laughs, just more slow motion sadness.

  5. Wow - I think is my favorite post you've done! Very nicely written. :)

  6. We got parasites at the group home I used to work at. We had to sneak into the clients rooms in the middle of the night and apply sticky little paddles to their buttholes to catch the little things that were crawling out.

  7. Victoria-I am glad you liked it!

    krouth-thank you!!

    Cynthia-That is....a better story than mine.
    What did the butthole paddles look like?
    Do you have a blog? Because you need to draw some pictures for that.


    So why am I laughing ?

  9. I do not envy your former job position. And dammit, one of the commenters already made a Stephen Hawking joke -- so I got nothing.

  10. Butthole paddles are small sticky paddle shaped things that you press on the butthole late late at night while the person is asleep (worms crawl out of an infected person's butthole late at night/early in the morning..puke..) and then put into the tiny vial that comes with it. My favorite part of the story was when one of the clients woke up and said, very alarmed, "What are you doing in my butt!!" My co-worker Mary-Lou told him that she lost something.
    I have recently started a blog-but haven't been on too much

  11. I don't even know WHERE TO BEGIN.

    Um. It's just.


    Also this? You cannot make someone go poop.

    Totally true. No matter what you stick up there.

  12. I am pretty sure I am going to hell now for laughing as hard as I did!

  13. Only people who haven't worked with the handicapped think it's not OK to laugh at them.

    My neighbor got gripped between the legs of an extremely overweight down's syndrome woman while he was trying to change her diaper. Her legs were like the moray eels of the group home he works at. I think they had to use the jaws of life to get him out of there.

    He laughed.

  14. "...hoping to God that nobody seizured in the back seat..." Been there, honey, Sweet Lord, have I ever. Vanload+ daypass+haunted house with strobe lights= seizures. Nuff said :)

  15. So you, um, just left a still-alive injured baby deer on the side of the road?

  16. Holy Cr*p!
    You are going on my favorites :) Thanks for the laugh!!!

  17. So going to hell dude for killing the bambi.

    that aside, this sad and sorry tale reminds me of an experience my lead-footed brother-in-law had one time when he was holidaying in the Hunter Valley. The HV is our state's main wine growing country. Something like the Napa I guess but probably a lot smaller, drier, nowhere near as pretty but with the same interminable crowd of people either getting pissed on free booze tasters or people talking about the fruity undertones of last season's pinot.

    He was hooning along the country roads between the vines until he got stuck behind this really annoying family in a cheap Korean mini-van which made his eyes roll so much they hurt. At one point they very nearly came to a complete stop, causing him to curse, put the pedal to the metal and take off at eleventy gallion miles an hour past them.

    Except they'd almost slowed to a stop for a reason. A cute, feathery doona of a reason my BIL realised as he slaughtered a mother duck and her cute little ducklings.

    As he looked in his rear vision mirror at the carnage, feathers and duck bits still falling from the sky, the look of abject horror and distress from the mini-van was quite apparent.

    Good times.

    1. HA HA oh that is so terrible so very terrible. You should draw it and post it Kim. It is my favorite mixture of awful and funny, poor baby ducks. Hee hee.