Department of Home Security
Babysitting Gig Q&A
Pierre Tristam/Candide's Notebooks, February 22, 2007
Ahead of Friday night’s talk at the ACLU we’ve had to secure a babysitter for our two children. It’s a rare occurrence, Cheryl and I having resigned ourselves to our own parental Devil's Island, and we've already used up our fiscal year's quota for our usual sitter, the friend we take advantage of and don't pay. So this time we’re having to rely on someone new, actually a colleague of mine from the paper, and pay union wages with 401(k) contributions (part of the new labor perks the Democratic Congress approved in its first hundred hours; see Slave Labor Wage Act of 2007). This is the standard questionnaire we send to all prospective sitters. I’m publishing it here as a public service to parents everywhere who may want an easy method of filtering the rabble from the Rabelaisian. A pdf version of the questionnaire will be made available subsequently.
1. Are you religiously inclined? If so, why?
2. Do you carry weapons? Please list them by order of caliber.
3. Did you vote for GWBush in either of the last two presidential elections? If the answer is yes, discontinue responses. Thanks for participating. No need to inquire about future gigs.
4. Do you beat children you baby-sit? If so, list means of violence by order of caliber.
5. Please list your language abilities. If you know less than three languages, discontinue responses. Thanks for participating.
6. Do you need Kosher foods?
7. Do you support the Iraq war? Have you ever supported the Iraq war? If either answer is yes, please discontinue responses. Thanks for participating.
8. Do you now or have you ever considered James Michener, Tom Clancy, Tom Cruise and Oprah good influences on American culture?
9. Are you a Letterman or Leno person?
10. Do you accept Euros as a form of payment?
11. Do you permit television during baby-sitting gigs? If yes, please discontinue answering. Thanks for participating.
12. Do you favor legalizing drugs?
13. Do you favor legalizing Arabs?
14. Do you think there should be an exception in law for eugenics so long as it is to ensure that babies are not born conservative?
15. At what age do you think children turn from cuddly, cute and adorable things to monsters?
16. Do you think my son is the greatest thing on earth since algae staked a claim to life on earth? If not, thanks for participating. We won't be needing your services.
17. What are your solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict? Please answer in detail, with at least three options. Maps optional.
18. If there is an afterlife, but no satellite TV in the afterlife, do you then conclude that God is a sonofabitch for having had us go through life for no useful end?
19. If there is a fire in our house do you a) save the Voltaire collection first; b) save the Library of America collection first; c) take advantage of the fire to burn my wife’s books from a previous marriage; d) secure the laptop with Dreamweaver and web site backups first? e) suggest to the children to take care of themselves?
20. Do you think Tasers are a “non-lethal” way to baby-sit effectively?
21. Will you be reading that book with the word “scrotum” in it to my children as their bedtime story? If not, thanks for participating. We won’t be needing your services.
If any of these questions make you feel uncomfortable, please provide us with the names and numbers of your counselors/psychiatrists and sign the enclosed release form to give us access to your session tapes. If you are involved in a romantic relationship and may at any time contact the person, by phone or email, from our home, please forward this questionnaire to your partner as well. Should all answers be satisfactory, we’ll expect you by 6:15 p.m. at our house, preferably dressed in purple and green, pending inquiries into your driving record and credit history.