Your mother has a smooth forehead

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By John Pawlak

Back when I worked at Bell Labs, we brought in a candidate for an opening on our database team.  Upon reviewing his resume, I couldn’t understand why my interview team had selected him for an interview. The guy had no relevant experience and his degree was in chemistry, not computer science. Well, it turns out that he had put “Klingon” on his resume as a foreign language in which he was fluent.  (Klingons are a warrior race in the 24th century, kind of a cross between an iguana and Dick Cheney).  

My team simply couldn’t resist interviewing someone who knew what “Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam” meant.

Not surprisingly, when the man discovered why he had been invited in, the interview went south.  He was visibly upset and as he was leaving, he scowled at my team leader and said “Your mother has a smooth forehead!”  Although he said it in English, I learned later that this was considered the worst possible insult a Klingon could utter. Fortunately, he didn’t have a Bat’leth on him.

With the school year over, you might find yourself looking for ways to keep your kid busy.  An all-time favorite option is summer camp.  When I was a kid, this meant spending a few weeks learning how to paddle a canoe, learning how to build a camp fire and learning the correct way to apply poison ivy medication.  But today, one can send their kid to camp for just about anything imaginable.  Computer camps,  carpentry camps, cooking camps, and yeah, there are summer camps that will teach your kid how to speak Klingon. Jol yIchu’, Scotty! Beam me up.

If you’re not interested in having Junior learn a new language (especially one that won’t exist for another couple hundred years), how about a music camp?  You can send your kid to Camp Jam, a rockin’ camp run by Jeff Carlisis, lead guitarist of 38 Special.  Do you have twins?  Send them to a barbershop quartet camp (they can be half the group).  You can even send your kids to a hip-hop camp where they can master the fundamentals of break dancing, rapping and as an added “bonus,” they even learn how to spray paint graffiti.  Now there’s a job they’ll never outsource!

Camps with horseback riding, swimming, hiking ... no, that’s all passé now. Today, it’s camps for nude volleyball (actually, I’ve never seen a volleyball dressed), paleontology (fossil digs for young dino-lovers), juggling camps and camps that teach how to write comic books.

Do your kids like to clown around?  Then send them to Circus Camp.  They’ll live under the big top with performers from Ringling Bros. and the Moscow State Circus, who will teach them how to ride a unicycle, how to throw custard pies (I throw pi around in my class all the time), and how to apply greasepaint. At the very least, they’ll come back home knowing a few good jokes.

Got a few sneaky types in the family?  Send them to Spy Camp. Your child will learn stealth and surveillance techniques, undercover procedures, code breaking and far more important for survival in the city ... paintball combat strategies.

Maybe your kids would enjoy a summer at Forensics Camp.  They’ll learn how to detect and collect evidence (fingerprints, hairs, fibers, footprints) and apply diagnostic testing for analyzing various crimes. This could prove very useful if your neighbor’s kid went to that hip- hop camp and you suddenly find your car vandalized.

There’s Anime summer camps for kids who like to draw cartoon girls with 10-inch waists and 50-inch breasts.  Avatar camps for kids who like to draw characters that look like a cross between Lyle Lovett and a tarsier.  

Summer camps for scuba diving, robotics, surfing, puppeteering, rug making, and even ones that teach you how to become a stunt double in Hollywood.  Got a young Ralph Lauren or Donatella Versace in the family?  Send them to Fashion summer camp.  There’s even a screenwriting summer camp.  

We might just find ourselves at the Little Theater watching your kid’s play entitled, “How my parents tortured me at summer camp.”