Right before spring break, our school does its annual big fund-raiser. We do a 3-mile run. But we totally circumvent the whole pledge-a-certain-amount-per-mile-or-per-lap thing. We just ask for cash straight up. No gathering pledges and telling everyone that yes, you think you can do the three big laps around the whole property, and then collecting on them after. Oh no. We just tell ’em to collect cash and checks and then we make all the kids do the three miles anyway. Not sure why we don’t just ask for money. They get a “reward” with each lap: water bottle with school logo, string backpack with school logo, Jamba Juice. (Jamba Juice was born here!) Then we feed them hot dogs and oranges, they throw water balloons and chase each other around, play in the sumo suits, and scream a lot. We send them to break good and worn out.
We herd them back to their Homie Bases at the end for a head count, and in past years we would hand out orange juice bars to go. This year’s flyer was reused from last year, and nobody in management noticed the promise of juice bars down near the bottom. My Homies and I were going over the set up before the gig, and we got to that point. I said,
“So then we herd you all back here again to make sure none of you wandered off during the festivities–”
Laughter all around. Several hands go up, and the inevitable question is asked.
“Has that happened? Did someone leave?”
Of course I have to make allusions to “that one year” and vague references to “this one kid.”
“But now we make sure. You all come back here after, we count heads, we give you a juice bar, and you’re on vacation.”
They all look at me with that tilted head thing that dogs do.
Ok. At first this doesn’t even register. They’re not really asking what a juice bar is, are they? No.
I tilt my head back at them.
“A frozen bar of juice.”
“Like orange juice.”
“Frozen orange juice. On a. Stick.”
Desperately, “A Popsicle?”
“OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!” As one voice.
Then the various theories…
“I thought it was like this metal bar where they like fill it with juice, and then you maybe squirt it.”
“I thought it was like a candy bar, but like juice.” (Not a bad idea, actually.)
“I thought you were making it up.”
“I thought you said barf.”