Unfortunately, no one will pay us to clean our rooms or take out the trash. Darn.
As in nature, creatures seeking the same prey must stake out their territory and defend it against interlopers. Therefore, fair warning to adolescents sniffing out the latest prospect for cashing in on the foibles of others: Don’t underestimate the grit of your grandma. We will seize this opportunity.
Teens refer to it as babysitting, but those of us in the post-retirement plunge know this potentially promising prospect as chaperoning! Secret Service chaperoning, that is.
You’ve seen the headlines. Our little guys need supervision on the ethical side of the street.
As a retired high school principal, I am uniquely qualified for this task. In fact, I may face the conundrum of being too qualified. I’ve thwarted the trickiest of tricksters: Teenagers.
That’s right. After years of on-the-job training and active duty on the front lines of public schools, I can monitor expense accounts, cover cleavage (no doubt key in leading agents astray), locate and confiscate all manner of contraband (to remain unnamed in a family newspaper), intercept surreptitious cell phone communications, patrol perimeters, and safeguard sidelines. With years of throwing wet blankets and drizzling on parades, I feel certain I can keep a short leash on even the wildest hormonal antics of a few advance team operatives.
And don’t forget, I’m a mother. That intersection of skill sets, between mom and principal, may be unequaled in the undercover world of ferreting out the fishy and putting a kybosh on clandestine capers. My preoccupation with "Case Crackers" will pay off, too. I knew it would come in handy someday.
Of course a person must weigh the risks and remuneration of any career adjustment.
Other options do exist for a person in the fullness of her life: I could don latex gloves and a hairnet. Oh yes! Slicing and serving Costco pulled pork has its appeal. Free food for one. And meeting the needs of all those starving scavengers who converge at the corners of the concrete aisles hoping to snag a thimbleful of mac and cheese? It doesn’t get more rewarding than that.
Alternatively, I’ve long been drawn to the profession of greeting. You know it’s not just in Wal-Mart anymore. Greeters now man the portals of Kohl’s and 7 Eleven, among others. Who knows? Maybe someday soon someone will look up when I’m trying to spend money in Best Buy.
Not to be scoffed at, professional greeting requires finesse. It’s not easy to create a welcoming atmosphere while simultaneously calculating the criminality of the incoming customer.
You see, greeters provide an unseen service: Robbery prevention. That’s right. Research shows that patrons who are met with eye contact and a verbal salutation when entering commercial establishments are less likely to rob the cashier. I applied this concept at my school, stationed on the sidewalk, waving and calling out to parents and students each morning as they arrived on campus. We were never robbed. That one kid did give me the finger though.
I could be that girl who sprays you with a cloud of Jay-Z’s musk when you wander into Macy’s, unprepared to take evasive action. But I haven’t been a girl since I made a graceful transition to young woman in 1966; and I’m morally opposed to ambush.
So yeah. I’m thinking Secret Service chaperone. You know it pays better than public school employee, and Cartagena outstrips a Homecoming Dance for cache`. The players have changed, but the job description remains the same:
· Keep a jaded eye. Even the sweetest operative can be the most conniving and creative in evading detection.
· Be wary of Eddie Haskell. You remember two-faced Eddie. He’s present whenever turpitude is in the air. He’ll shine you on while slipping working girls around the back.
· Don’t dance with your supervisees. No matter how young you feel, cell phone video doesn’t lie.
And of course,
· Bring your breathalyzer. Don’t leave customs without it.
I hope I haven’t given too much away. Positions are sure to be limited and competition intense, even among us oldsters. But as I say, I have an edge.