1. The Finger
Last night, I managed to slice the index finger of my right hand fairly badly, resulting in a disturbing amount of blood and a big band-aid. It also swelled up around the second knuckle, rendering said finger mostly useless. Thankfully, working at the Front Desk of the Lawrence Hall of Science does not require much in the way of fine motor skill. Taking money, transferring phone calls, giving directions - not brain surgery. Even when I have to give directions to the exhibit on brain surgery, it's still quite doable.
On the other hand, having a gimpy finger has made me aware of how automatic and unconscious many of these physical tasks are. I reopened the cut early in the day doing reflexive, finger-endangering cash register-related tasks. So to avoid further injury, I have been curling the index finger toward the palm, keeping it out of the way, and using other fingers to handle money and directions. There's been no more blood, no more pain, but around 3 pm, I realized I've unintentionally given the finger to at least 80% of the people that came in in the past two hours. They may have gotten the wrong impression from my tough-guy gesturing.
"Where's the restroom?"
"At the bottom of the stairs." Jerkoff.
"Do you have any dinosaurs?"
"No, our main exhibit today is on elephants." I got your dinosaurs right here!
"Hi, I forgot my membership card. Can you look me up on the computer?"
"Sure, no problem." Ya piece of shit.
"That looks like a nasty cut on your finger."
"Fuck you." Fuck you.
Better the kids learn it here instead of on the streets, right?
2. Try Again
The elephant exhibit has generally received positive feedback from our members. I think most children have a fondness for enormous animals, whether they're dinosaurs, elephants, or whales. Elephants are herbivores, which cuts down on the amount of kill scenes, fake blood, and screaming hysterical children.
Nonetheless, not everyone is pleased. Here is the text of a recent comment card we received. I wish I could have scanned it, so as to capture the furious penstrokes and intense rage emanating from said card:
The elephant exhibit was the worst I've seen in 6 years. The emphasis on death, skeletons & evolution is just so limiting to the vast aspects of elephants. My children could hardly wait to leave after 8 minutes. Try again.
Why's there always gotta be visitors hatin' on evolution, anyway?
3. No shirt, no shoes, you know the drill
A family of five came into LHS around 2:15. The youngest child, a girl who appeared to be about 2 1/2, stood apart from her family, arms folded and face scowling. After paying for admission, the moms of the family said, "OK Maddy, ask him."
Little Maddy withdrew her lower lip slightly and queried, "Do you hafta wear a shirt inside?"
Her Moms, standing behind Maddy, nodded her head slightly.
Probably, the museum has a policy on both shirts and shoes, vis-a-vis service, but I still felt like I was selling little Maddy out by requiring a shirt. Why not let her roam amongst the elephants, free from her itchy shirt? She's got her whole life to wear the uniform of "Joe Starbucks" or "Sally Cell Phone." Who am I to break her flow?
Anyway, I solemnly informed her that only babies were allowed to go shirtless in the museum. Her preschool mind quickly calculated: "Only babies are shirtless in the museum. I am not a baby. Ergo..." So she got a baby seal stamp on her hand instead. Blue. It matched her shirt. Everyone was happy. Especially Joe Starbucks, wherever he was.