September 6, 2007

Two current news stories caught my eye this week. It’s not often that I’m moved enough to gripe about such things (ha ha, okay, I don’t actually have to be moved…my needle is always pointing at “gripe”) but when I feel it’s for the good of humanity, I speak!

First up: Senator Craig

The hypocrites of politics should definitely be weeded out, and I’m all for calling them on their inconsistencies, but since when is it illegal to do any number of different tap dancing steps in a public restroom? I’m telling you, this transcends politics people, this infringes on my stomping rights! What if there’s a big spider and I want to end its miserable life even if it’s already halfway across the stall floor next to me? What if I’m practicing my powder puff football stances? Don’t quarterbacks shuffle their feet and wave their hands around near the ground and such? I mean, if I’m practicing football I’d probably already know the answer to that question, but still. What if the undercover cop glances up toward the ceiling for a second while rolling his eyes over having gone to the academy in order to sit in toilet stalls for a living, and he misses my wedding band go rolling past? When I try to catch it with my foot and then dive after it with my hands, I’m automatically arrested? What if, WHAT IF, God forbid I lose the ability to speak and all feeling in my body except my foot? I can’t try to use Morse code to alert the authority next to me? We’re all screwed, I’m telling you.

We have another problem here as well, which is that I had no idea it was illegal to send “I Want Your Sex” signals! Obviously since I recall that song, I’ve followed George’s unfortunate incidents, but I thought his arrests were born out of more than just doing the Two Step a little outside the lines. I assumed he, I don’t know, “opened the barn door” without proper invitation or something. Admittedly, I don’t follow these things all that closely but I figure I follow it about like the majority of other Americans do. I read the salacious headlines, I skim one or two accountings of the incident, and then I move on. This time though, it seems like this Senator was arrested for possibly insinuating that he might be sexually interested in the dude next to him…? Possibly excepting the fact that both were men, you have the makings there of arrest warrants for almost every single slightly tipsy person in every single bar in the country. Once you do that, and place them in jail, we’ll probably need to bring them all up on charges again after a month or two!

If he’d winked at someone while at the urinal, would that be charge worthy? I’ll bet that isn’t cryptic enough. Walking right up to the stall door and saying “If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me”? I’d think that one has an easy out in court, what with the double entendre and all. Plus, you could always just say you were singing – badly. Then again, if foot tapping is out then singing is probably frowned upon in areas where antibacterial soap and toilet paper are both readily available, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about keeping the public at large from doing the nasty in any public restroom, or let’s just go with anything “public” at all being out of bounds for moving beyond first base, but I’m not so sure about all of this decoding of secret signage by the legal eagles. Who’s to say that they have the right decoder rings for the area they’re staking out? I think we are forced to stick with trying to stop the actual act of committing a crime – and not the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink…wanna?” precursor.

According to the Chicago Tribune, an elementary school in Colorado has banned the playing of tag on the playground. (Story here) All of the running about after one another was “causing conflict” on the playground, and we all know the best way to deal with conflict is to dig out the evil root of the conflict and abolish it from the world forever. Goodness knows, kids go introducing these new-fangled, ridiculous playground games and there’s just no way we can let them go off *playing* around like that. I’m just really happy they nipped this one in the bud.

Here’s an idea: If some children can’t play the game of tag appropriately, involving only those who want to participate (one of the complaints is that children are chased who do not wish to be chased – go figure, when I was a kid nobody wanted to be “it”, apparently times change), and utilizing only a light “tap” (but not the airport bathroom kind of tap, of course) rather than the ever popular two-handed shove…well then the recess monitors should send those children to wherever they put the annoying kids at recess. I’m fairly confident that you can get yourself physically injured more easily playing on the monkey bars (Can we still call them that or are monkeys offended?) than you can playing tag, and you’re definitely more likely to find your feelings hurt come the “take turns picking teams” moment at gym time than during tag. Teaching kids to take the game of tag personally by allowing that it’s something to get that worked up over is just ridiculous. Are there instances where someone is mistreated during tag? Absolutely. Are there instances where someone is mistreated while climbing the slide or walking on the sidewalk? Well yeah, because that’s life. Tag can be *fun* for those that want to play – it gets kids moving and most teachers would tell you that a kid releasing energy is never a bad thing. Honestly, it sounds to me that whoever is monitoring recess time just doesn’t feel like having to play manager of the game, and that’s just a shame. It would also seem that those “non contact running game alternatives” could be introduced without banning tag, and I bet with a little organization and creativity tag would hardly be the first choice anyway.

Quite possibly the most distressing part of this story is the fact that only two parents complained about the ban! What’s next? No “Red Rover” lest some wayward child crash through two innocent kids who just happen to have interlocked their arms for a moment? No “Mother May I” because someone might take six baby steps right onto an innocent child not involved in the game but lying on the ground for some unknown reason (Because I’ve seen it! They just haul off and roll around like cows sometimes!)? Shouldn’t we just ban multiplication flashcards at school? Those things are an accident waiting to happen what with all the flipping them around in the air all willy nilly while the guesser keeps waving his finger around and yelling “oooh, oooh, it’s…it’s…uh…31?”! Hey parents, guess what? You send your children to school and every day the first thing they do is pick up a sharpened, pointy, perfect for eye-poking weapon. When your school approaches you about banning tag, tell them your child is terrified and traumatized at the thought of being stabbed with a pencil by a wayward fourth grader. Tell them you’d like them to remove that conflict because you just know that 25 kids in one room, writing at the same time…someone’s going to get hurt.



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