Babysitting is dangerous, ugly work and should not be attempted by the weak at heart. It would be easier, I suppose, if you were able to sit on the babies you were watching, but my parents would never allow me to do so when I was told to babysit.
When I was young my babysitting tasks usually revolved around my younger brothers. With two working parents my summers were spent trying to find inventive ways to keep my brothers entertained so that I could play.
Like any good 12-year-old shirker of responsibility, I did my best to try and find a way out of my babysitting duties whenever possible, and one day I stumbled upon the great management tool still in use by progressive corporations everywhere: Delegation of duties.
My mom and dad had told me I was responsible for my brothers while they were at work, and I finally struck upon the gaping loophole in their instructions. They said I was responsible for my brothers; they did not actually say that I had to be the one watching my brothers. With that realization I immediately delegated the responsibility of watching my brothers to . . . my brothers. And chaos ensued.
After almost 20 minutes of relative silence, I became concerned because things were going entirely too well, so I went to check on my brothers and it was then that I discovered that my 7-year-old brother had decided to delegate his responsibilities of watching his younger brother to . . . a tree.
My youngest brother (and his bike) was tied to the tree in our front yard and a small crowd of neighborhood kids had gathered around to listen to him scream. There was no sign of my other brother and when I untied my youngest brother he kicked me in the shin and started marching down the street, stating in a very loud and high-pitched voice that he was running away from home.
With one brother already missing I realized that should my parents come home from work and find both of my brothers missing they might become slightly upset. My youngest brother, being the smallest and within sight, seemed the most likely candidate to capture.
In this I was mistaken. I picked up my little brother and started carrying him back toward the house and while he screamed like a banshee I tried to get the crowd of neighborhood kids to leave.
They weren’t interested in leaving but were interested in popcorn and a soda, to better enjoy the show.
About then my brother sank his teeth into the bicep of my left arm and suddenly the banshee screams transferred from his 4-year-old body to my 12-year-old body and the audience of neighborhood kids began to cheer.
After several repeated knocks to the forehead my brother finally released my arm and I began to jump about on the driveway, still screaming and looking at my arm, which was oozing blood. My littlest brother was no longer screaming but seemed rather content to let me scream, which was when my 7-year-old brother suddenly returned home, saw the crowd of neighborhood kids and hurriedly set up a lemonade stand.
By the time my parents got home from work the crowds had dispersed, we were out of lemonade, and I had resolved that I would never again try to delegate my babysitting responsibilities. (Davis is editor of Serve Daily.)