Jul 21, 2006

the prize winner picker of fairbanks, alaska

Posted by Mary |

How did this happen? How did I allow a colleague to talk me into judging fair entries for 4-H? Maybe, maybe, on a good day when I was half-asleep or drunk I would be an adequate choice to judge livestock or something. But on a sober day? Not so much. And sadly, I'm not even going to judge livestock. (You got a real pretty mouth, pig...) No, I get to judge the creative entries. You know, photographs, poems, essays, etc.

You must bear in mind that I'm very familiar with these types of entries. When we go to the fair, Tom insists on reading each and every one. It's that same sort of sickness that forces him to read every interpretive plaque he encounters. Every. One. But back to me. Tom reads all of these entries, and I stand next to him and try to offer constructive criticism.

  • "Using the same word twice doesn't count as a rhyme, Brianna."
  • "Maybe when mommy was helping you pick out fonts for your essay, she should have been running the spellcheck, Dustin."
  • "Iambic pentameter? I don't think so, Hailey."
  • "Dear God in heaven, do you really think that looks anything like a dog, Khrystal? It looks more like Sloth in Goonies."
  • "I find your use perspective quite interesting, Madison. Was this your view from the window in your short bus?"
  • "Well, that's certainly one way to draw the trees, Aaron. But perhaps, as the saying goes, you couldn't see the forest for the crap you were scribbling on the paper."
And, occasionally,
  • "NO! Just...NO!!!!"

Judging, of course, is horribly biased toward the kids. As I was informed, we use the Danish Method. This does not involve any sort of pastries, so I was already feeling cheated. Then I discovered that the Danish Method means, basically, everybody wins. "They should call it the Lame-ish Method," I muttered, sinking deeper into my chair. There are four levels of awards:
Blue: Given to those projects that most nearly meet the standards for the project. Please note that the highest award possible can be given to a project that doesn't even meet the standards. Social promotion, methinks.
Red: Given to projects that rank good in relation to the standards. Or, as the Web site says, "the general level of the accomplishment is less than excellent." Well, there's my answer. Bill and Ted are making these rules.
White: Given to projects that are found lacking. WTF? You get an award for this? In that case, I have known a lot of white-ribbon people in my days.
No ribbon: This may be given if an exhibit failed to produce a level of achievement. In all my days at the fair, I have never seen something without a ribbon. Every piece of crap gets a ribbon. Every child wins because the contest is rigged!

It should be an interesting Saturday....