Some of you may not know this, but I lead a secret double life. (No, not that kind of double life. And definitely not that!) The truth is, when I’m not writing goofy stories for kids, I’m a social worker. My job is to get services, like speech or occupational therapy, for children with disabilities (cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation, etc…).
It’s a challenging job. A meaningful job. A serious job with not a lot of laughs. So most people I work with don’t realize that I spend half of my day with them being serious, and the other half writing goofy stories and doing goofy things such as this, and this, and one time I even did this.
So recently, when my “serious” job and my “goofy writing” job collided, it was…weird. I was about to start a meeting (along with various therapists, behaviorists, and other social worker-types) with the parents of a young boy with autism. Just before I started, the mother said, “Robin, I didn’t realize you were a children’s book writer, too.”
I was shocked! How did she find out!? I looked down to see if I was wearing a t-shirt that said, Don’t You Realize I’m a Children’s Book Writer, Too? But I wasn’t. I just had on my regular social-worker-brown jacket.
“How did you know?” I asked.
She said she read this article in the newspaper about my friend. “I think his name is Jay,” she said.
So there I was, in the middle of a bunch of serious clinical people explaining about my other life of writing goofy stories and hanging out with Jay and Eve. Luckily, the mother gave me a big smile and said, “That is so cool.”
Most of the other people were smiling at me, too. But one of the social workers just tilted her head at me and had a scrunched up, painful look on her face. She didn’t say a word, but I could tell exactly what she was thinking. We’re social workers. We’re not silly people.
But for me, being serious and silly is the perfect combination.