Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The only thing less useful than a comprehensive overview of the Franco-American War.

With quiet threats muttered under Daniel's breath the days leading up to his birthday celebration (Don't ruin my day), I did my best to come up with something that would pass as a Pac-Man party.  And believe it or not, there's not a lot of Pac-Man themed items in the party aisles.  It's almost like we were throwing this particular party thirty years too late or something.

He begged for a pinata.  The closest I could find looked like a nine-year-old girl's fantasy: Smiley face!  Rainbow!  Hibiscus!  OMG, all in one!  Fortunately for me, we were dealing with a character who is pixelated enough to be rendered fairly accurately with cut-up napkins.

The next challenge was kicking the people out of the picnic shelter that we clearly reserved for Daniel's birthday.

As in, the people who looked like they were tailgating while we were trying to set up for my 6-year-old's birthday party.  But maybe the giant napkin'd Pac-Man threw them off and they thought surely it was for someone much older who could handle some pre-gaming, if you know what I mean. And if you don't know what I mean, there's a good chance that you are even older than Pac-Man.  Do you need us to move?  Yes, actually. We're setting up for a birthday party that's going to start in a few minutes.  Oh, did you expect me to invite you to a kindergarten birthday party?  I guess we'll pack up our crap and go.  And several dirty looks later, they packed up their crap and left, but I could tell they were eyeing our potato salad.

Once all the party crashers were gone, we hurriedly got things into place.  (And that is the first time I've ever typed hurriedly, with which I initially failed the red squiggly line test.  But we were totally hurrying, just in adverb form.  I think.  I don't know, kids, but I grew up with a mediocre understanding of both the English language AND trigonometry and LOOK AT ME NOW!  Stay in school but don't sweat the small stuff, like trig.  Or adverbs.  Or spelling.)

You may continue to be shocked to find that "they" do not manufacture Pac-Man tablecloths.  "They" are Wal-Mart.  "They" do sell yellow tablecloths.  And sharpies.  And Pac-Man isn't a complicated shape to draw over and over again in black sharpie on a yellow tablecloth.  And thus it was Pac-Man on tablecloth.  Which was appreciated by precisely no one.  So the lesson is, go ahead and waste your time learning about Cosine (Given a point P(xy) on the terminal side of an angle θ in standard position, distance d from the origin, cosine(θ)), which you'll never once use in your life, not even on your deathbed with the dude from A Beautiful Mind at your side, and don't waste your time drawing rudimentary pictures of Pac-Man onto a place where people's plates will be covering up your lackluster artwork.  You're welcome, Class of 2012.

The fact that the cake made it across town to the park in one piece is just a testament to not only my awesomeness, but also the fact that trigonometry is useless.  My flippant disregard to proper cake dowel center supports and the turns we were taking on and off the highway should have been enough to topple this baby over.  But trig teaches us nothing but if we stare hard enough at something and will it to not crumble into a million pieces, it will be so.  Like triangles and three-tiered cakes.  And I've never even had a triangle crumble before my eyes, so THERE.

It was most definitely about three times as much cake as we needed, but I can't help myself from slicing up Fred Flintstone-sized servings and giving them to kids when their blood sugar seems to be too normal.  And then sending them home, where their parents will realize trigonometry didn't help them out in this situation at all.

You know what trigonometry helped with?  Not finding Pac-Man goody bags.  Luckily lunch sacks can be fed through a printer with or without tenth grade math.

Thankfully the children were so ready to dive into the sea of pinata candy that they didn't even care that the fifth out of twenty children blew it open.  Next time we won't use a metal bat.  That's life experience.  You don't learn that in trig.

But seriously, they descended upon the pile of Dum-Dums like fire ants from the earth whose mound just got stepped on by the gardener wearing flip-flops.

(I'm the gardener.)

Thankfully another parent stepped in to sprinkle candy over the ants' heads so I could go back for a second hot dog and not once even think about Cotangents.

When dessert time came, I had twenty sugared-up fire ants demanding that they each get a Pac-Man, a ghost, and a cherry on their irresponsibly large slice of cake.  And since I did not make sixty cake cut-outs, I instead brandished the knife and threatened the children.

I did learn that move in trig, from the senior in the back who had already failed the class twice.

And although I am still unsure the names of all the children in Daniel's class who came to the party, I am fairly sure all the Hey, You's had a wonderful time.  Because Daniel said I didn't ruin his day, and that's a pretty good compliment in my book.

But my book is filled with a hatred of trigonometry and cancer, so take it with a grain of Sine.


  1. What a great party! I have made dozens of pinatas in my lifetime, and I have yet to master creating one that does not require an adult to shake it from one side or another to release all sugar. Maybe trig would help me with that??