I recently agreed to chaperone some of my graduating students to Manhattan this June for their senior trip, a tradition at my school.
Here’s the situation: 25 teenagers, flush with academic success and the finality of high school, pockets engorged with cash, with only me and another chaperone to hold them back in the craziest city in the U.S.A. To paraphrase President James Buchanon in 1860, “Everything should work out just fine.”
It was a genuine honor that the seniors requested me as their chaperone. I’ve had this group on and off in my classes since they were 7th graders (it’s a small private school), and they’re genuinely a good bunch. I’m going to go ahead and assume that they wanted me with them because they like and respect me, and not because they think I’m a pushover who’ll look the other way if they duck curfew. I plan to preempt such notions by lecturing them about how Manhattan after midnight is patrolled by gangs of knife-wielding circus clowns high from huffing paint thinner and looking for midwestern naïfs to disembowel. I will support my case with a viewing of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, a film long hailed for being exactly accurate.
I’m not exactly certain what the administration is looking for out of their chaperones. If they’re looking for a tall, bearded man who can clearly enunciate rules and who wants to visit the Statue of Liberty, then they’re in luck. If they’re looking for somebody who can recommend good restaurants and avoid getting lost in the subway system, then there might be a problem. Let’s face it – under my supervision, these kids are pretty likely to end up stranded at a vacant Coney Island gas station right about the time our departing flight is taking off. If that happens, I might have to go to plan B: throw my cell phone and social security card in the trash and begin a new life as a drifter riding the rails with only a melody and my Master’s degree to keep me company.
Also, does anybody know if Manhattan has a Arby’s?