Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Judging Others is Fun

Who knew judging others could be so much fun?

On Friday I was one of about 24 judges for a middle school science fair. The entire experience was quite interesting.

My first assignment was to judge ten sixth grade projects.

I was quite disappointed to see the disparity between the boys and the girls projects. We pay a helluva lot of money to send the kids to this school. I didn't think they were letting the girls fall through the cracks of math and science.

The problem was mostly with the choice of subject matter. While the boys were conducting experiments on corrosion and electromagnetic fields, the girls were seeing if wood would sink faster then metal. Although I was quite impressed with one girl's experiment on which brand of diaper held the most water. (A newborn-sized Huggies holds 2 and a half cups!) I can only hope that this phenomenon was unique to my group.

I was the first one done so I was sent back out to fill in for another judge who didn't show up. This time I was assigned the group eighth grade projects. I was quite happy to see that by eighth grade, the boys and girls seemed to be on a more level playing field. Maybe those junior high years are the ones in which the girls grow.

In fact, the group I chose as my winners were a pair of girls who conducted an extensive experiment comparing antibacterial and non-antibacterial cleaners. (Dial foaming hand cleaner killed the most bacteria by far.)

All of the pairs were single sex except for one. As the girl started to present their project on crystals I wondered if they were a fledgling young couple. I started young myself. Then the boy opened his mouth.

I wanted to put my arm around the girl and say, "Oh, Honey. You have a lot to learn." I can spot the fag-hag-to-be's at forty paces.

When she exclaimed at the end of their presentation, "He just loves his rocks!" I wondered how much she already knew.

I learned a lot as a judge, both on the fair floor and in the lounge. I even learned a little something about myself.

While I was tallying my first score sheet, the head judge asked me, "What do you do?"

It's been so long since someone asked me that question that I was taken by surprise. I even repeated in back to him. "What do I do?"

"Yes, what do you do?"

I smiled at him and answered, "I'm a mom."

"Oh! That's great!"

It turns out that he thought I was one of the young alums who works in the science field that they had asked to judge. "You look too young to be a parent," he told me.

And I realized that I finally crossed that line. I am finally at an age where I feel flattered and not frustrated to be mistaken for someone much younger.

This worries me though. Why should I feel so flattered? And what happens when I start to look my age.

I think I'm going to put the dermi on speed dial. How much could Botox hurt, really?

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