Saturday, November 17, 2012

UN Day Celebration and Ruffled Feathers

peacock feathers
RIP peacock. May you rest in peace. (photo source)

Do peacocks die if all their tail feathers get pulled out? I guess not, but I can imagine them dying of shame. I only ask because last month, during the UN Day celebration, I saw a child strut on stage wearing a peacock costume so big it could blot out the sun.

I don't make fun of other countries' national costumes, even those so poorly reconstructed they deserve to be petitioned, but I feel I need to throw darts at this one and it's not just because some departed peacock's spirit is now weeping over his bare bum.

Because national costumes cost so much, I'd have to sell an arm, a leg and all my internal organs to get a new one made. My daughter was Ms. Panama two years ago so I told her she'd be Ms. Panama this year and every year thereafter until the costume no longer fits.

To my dismay, one parent, who'd been pushing her daughter to compete against mine since last year, made her daughter wear the dearly departed peacock's feathers and a Panama sash too even if the kid was supposed to be Ms. Costa Rica. Her costume was so big and shiny that not even Ms. Zimbabwe who skinned a chicken for her headdress could hold a candle to her. Of course the judges couldn't tell the difference between a national costume and a national disaster so she won the contest.

My daughter is no spoil sport and would have been happy for her classmate if she didn't feel like her country was stolen from her. The offending parent's story is that she made a mistake and thought it was Costa Rica's costume she had made.

I didn't know that if you searched for Costa Rica on Google they'd serve you results for Panama. If that were indeed the case, someone should tell Google they missed Costa Rica by a few kilometers.

Come on, I work online for a living. I use Google everyday and although it's possible for irrelevant results to show for a search term, there is no way anyone can confuse one country with another unless the searcher has a reading disorder that'd make her read Panama as Costa Rica.

My kid soldiered through the event as if nothing had happened but on the ride home, she put her head on my lap. When she sat back up again, her cheek was wet. Unless my thighs were sweating through my jeans, I'd bet a million feathers those were tears.

I was crushed and for the first time in years, Google couldn't tell me what to do next. My pal Irene says I should make sashes for every country plus Ms. Lost Atlantis and Ms. Bemuda Triangle sashes and sashes for every known planet, give it to the other girl and declare her the queen of the universe in perpetuity. I suppose though that the insult would be lost on the mother who, if she says she doesn't even have the sense to use Google properly, probably won't be able to understand the sarcastic gesture.

I settled instead for a chat with my daughter over chocolate ice cream, explaining to her why winning isn't worth it if you have to step on others.


  1. I guess looking at the kids wearing costumes is a fun sight.

  2. Your child must be grateful for having a mom like you. The other mom was really a mess, I pity her child.

  3. That was rude of the other parent. I wonder why she felt the need to compete with your daughter. Parents shouldn't pit children against each other and definitely not teach their children dirty tricks. Your child is better off not winning because in the end, she has you as a great role model.

    Hope she's feeling better now!


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