School fundraisers help prepare children for life’s disappointments. I cringe every time a child brings home the fundraising folder. It’s homework for me. I was naive to think I would never have to do homework again once I graduated from college. The PTA scoffs at my naivety. I spend long holiday weekends glueing yarn and beads on poster board. Sure, my kids put their name on the assignment, but I do most of the work. I drive to the store to buy supplies. I operate the hot glue gun. I clean up the mess.

I didn’t know a consequence of pushing a baby out of my vagina was having to take a job as a traveling salesman. I have to hawk my wares to help pay for field trips. How about we 86 the potted plants on Main Street and donate the money to the school?

Do you know how many people want to buy overpriced wrapping paper or cheese spreads? Unless they are selling an evening with Ryan Gosling I am not interested either. I want to throw the fundraising folder in the trash. Unfortunately, with the catalog comes the prize pack. It’s ‘game over’ once your child lays eyes on the prizes.

My daughter’s school held a fundraiser recently. Among the prizes was a lava lamp for those nights when my 5-year-old is hosting a joint rolling party. There was also a few toys, a tablet and a flat screen TV. She came skipping home with an unrealistic goal. She wanted not one, but two prizes. The problem is I would have to ask the following people to purchase an item: relatives, friends, co-workers, the guy I saw once in the hallway in high school who friend requested me on Facebook and the barista at the local coffee shop. That wasn’t happening. So, the only thing she had a shot of winning was the “mystery prize.” It sounds exciting doesn’t it?

She asked me every day for two weeks when she would get her prize. Then, the day finally arrived. She was giggling with excitement as she opened the bag. It was (wait for it) a pencil. She won a pencil. I bought an expensive bowl and made a few immediate family members do the same for a damn pencil. It would be a great prize if we had been writing with rocks until now.


My daughter was crushed. Why don’t you just tell her there is no such thing as Santa Claus and crush all of her childhood fantasies at once. You couldn’t give her a toy ring or a small plastic toy? Chuck E Cheese gives away better prizes. If nothing else give the girl a pen.

I try to teach my children to be thankful for whatever they receive. They are pretty well trained. You could give them a bag of actual garbage and they would say thank you. I couldn’t b*llshit her this time. “You’re right. That prize sucks!” We laughed and put it in the pencil case. It will serve as a constant reminder that you don’t always get what you want.

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