Every second-grade class has a few weirdos in it, but some of them are more difficult to handle than others. These are the six little freaks that I had to supervise at the aquarium, ranked by how much of an ordeal it was to chaperone them.


6. Jay

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Jay is definitely kind of a nutjob, but he was ultimately harmless on my daughter’s field trip. He excused himself to go to the bathroom as soon as we arrived to the aquarium and then came out of it 10 minutes later wearing a suit. Besides his formal attire and the fact that he refused to eat anything but cheese sticks for lunch, he didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary. Whatever his deal is, it didn’t make my job chaperoning a second-grade class too much harder.


5. Saira

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Next up is Saira. She had about 70 friendship bracelets on her arm. On the bus on the way to the aquarium, she asked me if it hurts the fish when they get their feet taken off, which should have been a red flag, but I figured it was a one-time question. It was not. She interrupted every aquarium docent to ask where they keep all the fish legs that they tore off with machines. She did it to the kids from other schools, too, and a couple of custodians. I had to shoo her away from traumatized students and apologize for her behavior to employees, but overall, she was manageable compared to some of her freak classmates.


4. Agustin

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Boy, was this little weirdo frustrating. Agustin brought a chess set and parked himself on the floor with it at every exhibit we went to. He told everyone around him that he learned to play chess from his older brother who’s in college and has a girlfriend, but he definitely wasn’t moving the pieces right at all. When I tried to pack up the set so that we could all move to the next tank, he’d scream bloody murder, so at the end of each exhibit I had to get down on all fours and carefully drag the set without moving any of the pieces. My back was in rough shape by the end of the day. All in all, Agustin was a complete headache who significantly hampered my experience supervising the aquarium field trip.


3. Katharine (my daughter)

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Coming in at No. 3 is my daughter Katharine, who is a nightmare to chaperone. She kept asking for a job at the gift shop. As soon as we got to the aquarium, she made a beeline for the store and presented a vocabulary quiz to the manager as some kind of résumé. I tried to keep an eye on her as best as I could throughout the trip, but she kept saying that she had a shift and would disappear. By the end of the day, she was the manager of the gift shop. Any sense of pride I had at my daughter’s industriousness was shattered when we ended up being an hour late getting back to the school because we couldn’t leave until she found someone to cover for her. My Katharine is a little alien, and she wore me the hell out on the field trip to the aquarium. I have no one to blame but myself.


2. Gabrielle

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I thought this kid was totally normal until the bus ride home, when she spit a bunch of krill into the aisle. She convinced the other kids that they could spit krill too, and a lot of them made themselves throw up. I had to clean the bus, which is something I did not sign up for.


1. Michael

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This freak made my time as a chaperone a living hell. He’s deathly allergic to shellfish, and I was instructed to keep an EpiPen for him on hand at all times. A normal kid would have listened to the aquarium staff share fun facts at the squid exhibit, but Michael’s not normal. He found the employee-only door that led to the tank opening so quickly he must have looked up the aquarium floor plan the night before, and he had already dunked his head in by the time I pulled him away. As I dragged him out, he kept screaming that if he ate enough squid in their own habitat, he would become immortal. He did the same thing at two other exhibits. I am never going to chaperone again.