PHOTO: Jamie Street, Unsplash

I survived my first volunteer job manning a concession stand at my son’s high school last night. I tried to make light of the volunteer job, but deep down inside, I was scared I would fuck it up (like I always do).

Because I secretly believe I’m a dumbass.

Not self-deprecating dumb. Real dumb. Dumber than the developmentally disabled and the drug-induced off the streets.

I’ve always been scared of this. Always. It has nothing to do with humble-bragging or begging for attention, either.

For the longest time, I kept an appointment book full of even the simplest chores that other people take for granted. My mom and brother read it once, laughing over the first mandate: “Wake up. Brush hair.”

“How much of a dumbass are you?” my brother James said, in between howling hysterically. “You’re 21. You need an appointment book to remind you to do what you do naturally. Wake up? Wake up! Absolute dumbass.”

I didn’t know how to tell them this helped my mind focus on the real stuff I had to remember, names, dates, places related to my job or my health, or even a rare get-together. Or that basically, my mental capacity is that of a very precocious, but very naive four-year-old child.

Somewhere in the middle of my volunteering at the concession stand, my best friend blurted out, “What are you, a dumbass??” as I spouted hot water from the hot water thingie (used for cup o’noodles) into an empty water jug for these friends of my son’s, to help them keep warm, because another volunteer mom the other day did the same thing for them.

Later, her words stung as we both realized I’d been handing out hot cocoa and apple cider without sleeves or lids. (I remembered the spoon.)

When I got home and all through today, I relived the night, counting all the bone-headed mistakes I’d made, including the time I told everyone the peanuts were 25 cents instead of a dollar. They were in a bin along with the 25-cent items; I’d completely spaced on what another volunteer told me before.

Today, I face another dilemma. I have to decide if my son is ready to rejoin his soccer team for practices after almost four weeks of his MCL sprain/avulsion fracture. Maybe he can play the last game.

The problem is, his orthopedic PA-C keeps saying my son James has to wear the knee brace at all times, except for rest and PT. The PT keeps asking when the knee brace is coming off, and that he can’t work with James on more exercises until then. Then, his regular doctor, at his wellness checkup earlier, offered to clear him for practices if we returned for another check on the knee.

James can’t practice without a clearance from a doctor. One doctor is willing to give that clearance so long as James can run and kick without pain (he can), the other “doctor,” the actual guy specializing in these types of injuries, says no way, to wait until the Tues. appt. to see how the knee is after a full four weeks of healing.

What do I do? I don’t want to face the orthopedic guy after going over his head with the regular doctor. I don’t want to hold my son back if he’s actually ready to practice but is possibly held up by the overly cautious (his regular doctor’s words) healing time.

Remember, I’m a dumbass, a very scared dumbass.


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