Cats, Home Schoolers and Their Endless Entitlement
A year ago I had a group on a cemetery tour that were planning a homeschooling conference for this year. I was intrigued since two decades ago when homeschooling my own kids such a thing didn’t exist.
They asked me to be their opening keynote speaker to chat about Days of the Dead in San Miguel in exchange for advertising my tours. I wasn’t too concerned about their advertising since I do fine on my own particularly that time of year, but I rarely say no. Plus I was intrigued to see what homeschoolers were up to these days.
A year goes by fast and Days of the Dead were upon us yet again. In the interim the group has requested one quarter of my tour revenue during that week be given to their cause. I politely declined and knew things were heading south. Why would I give an unrelated business 25% of my revenue? For being able to do them a huge favor by having a local celebrity open their event?
That was my first inkling, like with most every gringo-led institution in town, the approach to any situation is “You owe me and you’re lucky I take your money and time.” Really it is no different from contributing to a political campaign or illness fund and you get the immediate email saying, essentially, “Got your donation but now it’s time to really pony up.”
Meanwhile I keep getting emails asking what “swag” I’m going to contribute to attendees. I’ve swag? I barely have swagger. Plus if you want to give away my books, for heaven’s sake, buy them! Again, they are holding an event to make money that I’m already the draw as far as speakers go.
The conference opens and starts 30 minutes late. Luckily, being Mexico, I allotted time for things to start late and it gave me time to people watch and make some interesting mental observations.
First off I was floored how many fathers of young children were my age (squarely, pun intended, middle aged). The notion of having little kids around the house exhausts me. Loved it at the time but that was three decades ago! Plus even then I was terrified of what would happen to the kids if I died. Their Mom wasn’t well and my parents were middle aged when they had me. My folks were basically beyond child-rearing age even then! What were these lads thinking? Is it fun being mistaken from Grand Papa while waiting in the bus line? My bad, they’re homeschooling so no pesky school buses.
Then there were the young mothers breastfeeding children that were old enough to read and write. If Junior can sign his own checks he’s too old to be aware Mommy even has a cup size!
The organizers did gather a crowd which must have thrilled them and their pockets.
I do my well-worn introduction on Day of the Dead and head back to the cemetery for tours and feeding Mortisha, the cross-eyed cemetery cat. I’m a bit offended to not get a single thank you from the organizers or even a cheesy sugar skull with my name on it. Something to acknowledge I’ve done you a huge solid using my image and reputation for a year to make money at your event, but I know from raising funds for gringo-run institutions across town, expressions of gratitude enter no leader’s mind. C’est la vie.
I do hold a tour just for conference attendees figuring that way kids (that I tour with for free) can intermingle with each other and not bother more adult-oriented tours. Four families sign up but only one shows up. Again, the aroma of entitlement since wasting someone’s time other your own matters not. Luckily the kids that did show up were engaging and fun.
With Days of the Dead and the conference behind us I write the organizers and ask them to return my favor by writing a brief, nice review that perhaps I can use in some future advertising. Instead I receive a three paragraph email listing the jokes he didn’t get (man buns must cut off the oxygen to that part of your brain that can laugh) and how I can “improve” them. As if talking about Day of the Dead is on par with a stand-up act. If so, go get fellow ginger, Kathy Griffin, I hear she has some time on her hands these days.
Ah, as I already knew, never help raise money for a gringo run organization. They approach every situation from “you owe me” and like Mortisha and the Friskies I give her, there is never enough going one direction. Eventually you’re left watching the recipient of your largess’ butt sashay away in disgust.