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6 Children I Help Tutor Who Will Never (Ever) Be President

#3.
Bronx: Liar with Bad Genes

Bronx is curious about everything and particularly dinosaurs, which I'm willing to chalk up as a passion for history. He can throw a football 14 yards and shows tremendous steadiness and patience when firing a crossbow. Bronx's only real fault is that he's a cheater.

I noticed it first while playing wizards together, I cast a flaming magic axe into his head, but Bronx kept insisting he was not dead. Then, on other occasions I again noticed his refusal to play by the rules or flat-out lie, sometimes even cheating his way to victory during Chutes and Ladders or Guess Who. I suspect his propensity for cheating is a product of his childhood because his mother is just as likely to succumb to the same amoral impulse, particularly with an indecently handsome volunteer tutor. I'm almost certain her careless approach to fidelity has rubbed off on Bronx even though she promised me he couldn't hear anything through the walls.

I'm sorry, Bronx, your morals are too flexible and your past too checkered, you can never be President.

#2.
Noon: Obsessive Compulsive

I can't say for sure what Noon's most valuable qualities are because she spends the majority of our time together organizing crayons in alphabetical order or peeling rubber cement off construction paper. She is so anxious about the exactness of everything she does that she will break down into a tantrum if I tie her shoes in single knots instead of doubles. Remarkably, her hygiene seems to be a blind spot to her compulsion and I can't mention it to her for fear of unleashing a new wave of fixations.

Her teachers assure me that it's normal for kids to get obsessive about various things, especially when they lack predictability in other quadrants of their life. To me it sounds like a convenient excuse to perpetuate eccentricity. Even at five-years-old, Noon is too far gone into crazy to fix and it's destroyed any chances she may have once had of holding the messy job of leading a nation.

I'm sorry, Noon, you are too psychoneurotic to be President.

#1.
Cayenne: Boring

A project I love doing with the children is planting different species of saplings and naming each after the child who planted it. Then I teach them the value of a metaphor over the next few months as the trees, like the children, grow before our eyes or fail to thrive in the environment and die. When the children ask me why some of the thriving trees aren't as tall or colorful as the others, I explain that in nature, some things are just destined to be bland forever. Cayenne, for instance, is fittingly represented in our tree garden by some scrub oak.

Where the other children are full of excitement for toys or sports or friendship, Cayenne is full of boring. She completely lacks a sense of humor and shows no interest in anything other than being pretty. I have tried to get an earnest response out of her in every way I can think of, including tackling her from high places in the hopes of at least seeing fear on her face. None of it works. A President has to be personable, charming and capable of showing a little passion, Cayenne has none of these traits.

I'm sorry, Cayenne, your complete lack of personality means you can never be President.


Thank you to each of the children in these photos. I hope we continue to enrich one another's lives.

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