Read Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations Online

Authors: Simon Rich

Tags: #Humor, #Form, #Essays, #Parodies, #General

Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations

BOOK: Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations
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For my mom

contents

  
I
  

the ride back to beersheba

a conversation at the grown-ups’ table as imagined at the kids’ table

second grade realization

a day at
UNICEF
headquarters as i imagined it in third grade

i still remember the day i got my first calculator

playing nice

our thoughts are with you

math problems

  
II
  

:(

if life were like middle school

pen pal

a fantasy i had in seventh grade

inside the cartridge

rebellion

what goes through my mind when i’m home alone (from my mom’s perspective)

i can only think of two scenarios where high school math would come in handy

slumber party

role playing

sex ed

ouija board

my mom’s all-time top five greatest boyfriends

my friend’s new girlfriend

  
III
  

invisible

crayola co.

“may or may not contain peanuts”

medieval england

patron of the arts

baseball’s hardest worker

orel hershiser

if life were like hockey

colombiatourism.com

ant farm

  
IV
  

love coupons

stadium proposal

sultan of brunei

endangered species

mating throughout history

when the “guess your weight” guy from the carnival got married

my roommate is really hard to get along with

homework

when small talk goes wrong

  
V
  

jesus

karma

repent

a conversation between god and the man in a football helmet and a speedo who’s always shouting things next to the a & p

the odds

where are all the time travelers?

desert island

the dog x-files

animal cruelty

lost puppy!

glorious battles of the american revolution

a day in the life of the swiss army

how i imagine life in the u.s. army (based on the commercials i’ve seen)

how did all those fun army chants get started?

how college kids imagine the u.s. government

war

acknowledgments

 

 

Then Abraham tied Isaac up and laid him on the altar over the wood. And Abraham took the knife and lifted it up to kill his son as a sacrifice to the LORD. At that moment the angel of the LORD shouted to him from heaven, “Abraham! Lay down the knife.” … Then they returned to Beersheba
.
—GENESIS 22

the ride back to beersheba

How about some ice cream, Isaac? No? Are you sure? I’ll tell you what, I’ll get us some ice cream. Want some ice cream? I’ll get us some ice cream.

Wow, there is nothing like camping! Cooking your own lamb, building your own pyre… and no women! Just a couple of guys in the woods, lighting fires, doing stuff, and keeping it between themselves! Speaking of which, did you ever notice how your mother sometimes gets ideas? I mean, she raised you and I love her, but she’s a very nervous person. All I’m saying is sometimes it’s all right not to tell her about certain things. Like
guy
things.

Wow, I just noticed that you have
huge
muscles! You’re really getting strong! When did you get so big and strong? Soon you’ll be a real strong guy!

Let me explain something to you. Sometimes, grown-ups
have to do grown-up stuff that children don’t understand. I think there’s an ice cream place coming up. Like, what happened on top of the mountain? Do you remember? Of course you … of course. Anyway, that was a thing for grown-ups.

How about some Rocky Road? Chocolate? I’d get you some strawberry, but hey, your name’s Isaac, not Isaac-Marie—am I right? Ha! Seriously, though, if you want strawberry I’ll get it for you. I’ll get you whatever you want.

So, anyway, let’s rehearse. I’ll be your mother. “Isaac, how was your trip to the mountain?” Okay, then you would say something like “Pretty normal.” That’s not too hard, right?

We’re almost home. Listen, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but your mother is very sick. She’s sick, Isaac. And the slightest shock might kill her. Hey, there she is, waving at us!
Hi, Sarah, we’re back!
Put a couple lambs on the spit—you’ve got a couple hungry
lumberjacks
on your hands! Ha, ha! She’s very ill, Isaac. Very ill. Wow!
… Camping
.

————————
a conversation
at the grown-ups’ table
as imagined at the kids’ table

MOM
: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.

DAD
: Okay.

GRANDMOTHER
: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.

DAD
: Me too. When it was over, I had sex.

UNCLE
: I’m having sex right now.

DAD
: We all are.

MOM
: Let’s talk about which kid I like the best.

DAD
: (laughing) You know, but you won’t tell.

MOM
: If they ask me again, I might tell.

FRIEND FROM WORK
: Hey, guess what? My voice is pretty loud!

DAD
: (laughing) There are actual monsters in the world, but when my kids ask I pretend like there aren’t.

MOM
: I’m angry! I’m angry all of a sudden!

DAD
: I’m angry too! We’re angry at each other!

MOM
: Now everything is fine.

DAD
: We just saw the PG-13 movie. It was so good.

MOM
: There was a big sex.

FRIEND FROM WORK
: I am the loudest! I am the loudest!

(Everybody laughs.)

MOM
: I had a lot of wine, and now I’m crazy!

GRANDFATHER
: Hey, do you guys know what God looks like?

ALL
: Yes.

GRANDFATHER
: Don’t tell the kids.

second grade realization

—Jake, come over here for a second. I need to talk to you about something.

—What’s up?

—This is going to sound a little crazy. Oh well … here goes. Do you remember when we were on the school bus last week and Ms. Higgins taught us that new game?

—You mean the Silent Game? Yeah, I remember. It was pretty cool of her to let us play games on the bus, huh?

—Well, yeah, that’s what I thought at first. But then I started thinking about it. And now I’m not so sure.

—What do you mean?

—Well, just think about it. The Silent Game isn’t
actually
fun. We don’t do anything—we just kind of sit there. And nobody ever wins. It’s always a tie.

—What are you saying?

—I don’t think it’s a real game. I think she just made it up to get us to be quiet.

—Oh my God. I think you’re right.

—I can’t believe we fell for it. We were silent for almost twenty minutes!

—We have to tell the class!

—What’s the point? They’d never believe us.

—What about all the other games she taught us? The Politeness Game … the Respect Game … the Clean Up the Tables Game …

—What about them?

—Those might be fake too.

—Whoa. You just blew my mind.

—This has got to be the craziest day of my life.

————
a day at
UNICEF headquarters
as i imagined it in third grade

[UNICEF sits on a throne. He is wearing a cape and
holding a scepter. A servant enters, on his knees.]

UNICEF
: Halloween is fast approaching! Have the third graders been given their little orange boxes?

SERVANT
: Yes, your majesty!

UNICEF
: Perfect. Did you tell them what the money was for?

SERVANT
: No, sir, of course not! We just gave them the boxes and told them to collect for
UNICEF
. We said it was for “a good cause,” but we didn’t get any more specific than that.

UNICEF
: Ha ha ha! Those fools! Soon I will have all the money in the world. For I am
UNICEF
,
evil king of Halloween!

SERVANT
: Sir … don’t you think you’ve stolen enough
from the children? Maybe you should let them keep the money this year?

UNICEF
: Never! The children shall toil forever to serve my greed!

[UNICEF tears open a little orange box and rubs the
coins all over his fat stomach.]

UNICEF
: Yes! Oh, yes!

SERVANT
: Wait—your majesty! Look at this! Our records indicate that there’s a kid out there—Simon—who’s planning to
keep
his UNICEF money this year.

UNICEF
: What?!? But what about my evil plans? I was going to give that money to the Russians so they could build a bomb!

SERVANT
: I guess there’s still one hero left in this world.

UNICEF
: Noooo!

[Runs out of castle, sobbing.]

SERVANT
: Thank God Simon is keeping his UNICEF money.

SECOND SERVANT
: Yes, it’s good that he’s keeping the money.

THIRD SERVANT
: I agree. Simon is doing a good thing by keeping the money from the
UNICEF
box.

SERVANT
: Then we’re all in agreement. Simon should keep the money.

————————————
i still remember the day
i got my first calculator

TEACHER
: All right, children, welcome to fourth grade math. Everybody take a calculator out of the bin.

ME
: What are these?

TEACHER
: From now on we’ll be using calculators.

ME
: What do these things do?

TEACHER
: Simple operations, like multiplication and division.

ME
: You mean this device just … does them? By itself?

TEACHER
: Yes. You enter in the problem and press equal.

ME
: You … you knew about this machine all along, didn’t you? This whole time, while we were going through this … this
charade
with the pencils and the line paper and
the stupid multiplication tables!
… I’m sorry for shouting … It’s just … I’m a little blown away.

TEACHER
: Okay, everyone, today we’re going to go over some word problems.

ME
: What the hell else do you have back there? A magical pen that writes book reports by itself? Some kind of automatic social studies worksheet that … that fills itself out? What the hell is going on?

TEACHER
: If a farmer farms five acres of land a day—

ME
: So that’s it, then. The past three years have been a total farce. All this time I’ve been thinking, “Well, this is pretty hard and frustrating but I guess these are useful skills to have.” Meanwhile, there was a whole bin of these things in your desk. We could have jumped straight to graphing. Unless, of course, there’s some kind of graphing calculator!

TEACHER
: There is. You get one in ninth grade.

ME
: Is this … Am I on TV? Is this a prank show?

TEACHER
: No.

playing nice

Dear fourth grade parents,

In order to make sure no child gets hurt this year, the PTA has agreed to the following guidelines for birthday parties:

1. If a child invites more than half of the class, he must invite the entire class, including Ivan.

2. If a child only wants to invite a few best friends but Ivan hears that there’s a party, that child must invite Ivan and pretend that the party is for Ivan.

3. If Ivan is at a party and he starts to have one of his fits, everyone else at the party (including parents) must pretend to have fits also so Ivan doesn’t feel that he’s the only one having a fit. When Ivan runs out of steam, nobody should talk about what just happened.

4. If Ivan demands that a child invite him to a party, that child must invite Ivan to a party even if it’s not that child’s birthday and that child doesn’t have any party planned. The next day, at the party, everybody should pretend that it actually
is
that child’s birthday and Ivan was right about everything.

BOOK: Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations
2.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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