Being right outside the doors of our national chain craft store before it opens is key. If I do this, and I don’t shop for unnecessary (but very coveted) glitter and crafting supplies, I might only have to wait on the line for 30 minutes. I am not sure how these stores stay in business, in every single store, no matter what state I am in (art supplies are needed on many a vacation), the lone cashier is left doing sales, returns, and answering the phone calls.
A few days ago, the lone cashier was doing a complicated return involving many tiny jars of paint, each needing to be scanned in individually, with an ongoing explanation of what was wrong with each jar… “too blue, too orange, not enough sparkle”. At the same time she had the privilege of talking to a man on the phone…a very loud man… who she seemed to be talking off a ledge. He was hysterical. “Weights not magnets! Weights for cars.” Giving measurements, colors, nothing was helping her to understand what he needed. He became louder and louder, until he said the magic words. Pinewood Derby. This man, at 10:03 Sunday morning, was out of his mind about his child’s Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car. Ha. Poor guy.
Want to see a bunch of competitive dads? Attend a Pinewood Derby. Our son designed his car, painted it (a lovely sophisticated gray), hand lettered a number on it (making his mama the graphic designer proud), weighed it in at the pre-registration, and he was happy. He lost in round one. OUT. For rest of the derby the dads of the newbies (losers) analyzed the cars. Which cars were winning, where were the weights placed (the back), what was the perfect width, height, wheel to body ratio? Dads of older kids chimed in… it can’t weigh more than this, but it needs to weigh more than that, “we” worked on “our” car for months. The new dads listened intently, taking notes… next year would be different.
To be fair… 1. I know women who behave the same way about nursery school graduation dresses for their daughters. 2. The newbie dads (let’s be honest, my husband and his co-leader) put in a request to the higher ups in scout land. In the future, could there be different categories of winners? This way it would not only be the kids who had eager aerodynamic space engineer dads (if that is a thing) that won. Celebrate the creativity too… a great paint job, a great character “driving” their car, the best named car, the most interesting interpretation of a car… for the kid who attached sails to make a pirate car (dragging it down so much that it almost went backwards). They lobbied that scouting should celebrate the many aspects of good design… because being fast is not everything. Bravo dads… bravo.
Watching someone lose their shit over something like a Pinewood Derby weight is very entertaining. It also made me realize there are many times when my momentary irrational breakdowns must be very entertaining to others. May we support each other during these moments, may we celebrate all aspects of good design, and may we chillax and just let kids create the goodness they are meant to create…it might not be fastest… but it will ALWAYS be cooler than what we adults could ever do. Swoon.