Wednesday, June 29, 2011

...Counselor of the Year

Last summer I worked in Italy as a counselor for a college prep program. This program has a zero tolerance policy for drinking and drugs; neither the students nor the staff was allowed to drink or be in the presence of alcohol. No problem, except OH we're in ITALY! Wine is cheaper than soda. Wine is cheaper than water! But anyone found in the presence of alcohol would be sent home at their own expense.

Like Prada clad veloceraptors, the students test the fence and every year at least one group is caught and sent home. My fellow counselors and I were determined to sufficiently warn (scare the crap out of) our kids, then patrol (the crap out of) them so as to prevent the heart break of sending anyone home.

As this group of students was particularly lazy and as we were particularly vigilant we neared the end of our tour intact. Then one night, waiting in the lobby of our hotel for dinner, I noticed a guest of the hotel talking to Kim, one of the girls in my group. It was a friendly conversation and it looked like Kim was being a good (what, ambassador?) for the group. I noticed that the hotel guest had a glass of white wine that she sipped once or twice during the conversation. "Ha!" the comedian in me cried, "That is a joke waiting to happen. This is going to be awesome!" Hotel guest and my student carried on for about 5 minutes, then Kim returned to the ladies of the "Long Island Eight".

"Now's our chance!" my shoulder comedian said. I approached the student somberly.
"Kim. I need to talk to you. You know that you're absolutely not allowed in the presence of alcohol. That woman was drinking a glass of wine. We're going to have to go talk to the director."
Kim's face dropped. The Long Island Eights' faces dropped. Kim started to tear up.
I laughed. "I'm just..." I trailed off. "kidding."
"Oh my god, that's not cool!" Kim composed herself. Long Island Four laughed and/or comforted Kim.
My laugh faded. "Oh, Kim, I'm sorry. I'm just. Oh, I thought that would be funny and it wasn't. I'm sorry, hon."

Three truths about the incident:
1. That was not cool.
2. I through a month's worth of professionalism down the toilet for one joke.
3. It was a fucking funny joke. Made me laugh just now.

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