In a sad attempt to make big money, I worked at a local, family run farm. I did not harvest corn or anything of that nature, but instead I scooped ice cream in a corner of the store. I can’t complain. Not only did not many people know about the ice cream stand’s existence, but it was also the middle of November. Not prime ice cream cone weather. However, one day during a festival, the regular face painter called in sick. She was born to do face painting. Not only was her technique great than stellar, but she also loved children. What the kids asked what her options were, she responded with “anything you can imagine”. I’m serious. Meanwhile, it’s a good day if I can draw a cat without it slowly morphing into a four legged chicken. Perhaps it was karma, since I may have accidentally gave people a cake cone instead of a sugar cone if they were being difficult. But alas, I was asked to fill in at the face painting booth. Keep in mind, this is a pretty big farm with around 30 workers on any given day. To be completely honest, I sort of figured my manager forgot I existed most of the time, since I was always alone in that corner. But naturally, I had to clean up the damage.
The first kid who came to the stand was a young boy with glasses. He had ice cream smeared all over his face, (ice cream I did not scoop) and wanted nothing more in the world in that moment than to look like Superman. I quickly suggested the much simpler Superman logo, and eventually he accepted my offer. I pulled up a photo in my phone to make it as perfect as I could. Sure, it may have looked more like a fancy number 5, but it could have easily been worse. After he left, disappointed, I wrote on a paper towel all the options the kids could have. (Also known as ‘what requires little talent’)
2. Cat whiskers
3. Smiley face
4. An apple
5. Lady bug
The butterfly was actually quite popular, and I eventually became pretty good at it. Then, in the middle of a pink and sparkly wing, I realized something. Not a single parent gave me a second of thought. They plopped their children in the chair, and went straight onto their phone. Why would a parent let a complete stranger so close to their child’s face? What if I mixed acid into the paint? Barely any of them even looked at me. But why should they? I’m just an irrelevant child worker at some farm, right?
Then I realized something else: They don’t know I’m not the regular face painter. They have no idea how I am the frozen dessert scooping specialist. They do not care. With these blasts of self realization, I let the kids start to choose whatever they want on their face. A spider? Sure, why not. They have 8 legs, right? So for one day, I was MZ: Master of Painted Faces.