Friday, March 29, 2013

1954 Poles Apart

You read things in the news sometimes that makes you wonder about where we're going. You expect to read weird things in the news, ordinary stuff doesn't sell ad space in their online editions, but still.
There was the story of the Maryland second-grader who was suspended from school because he shaped his breakfast pastry into a gun. The 7-year-old said he was trying to make a mountain. But the teacher thought it looked like a gun, so he was suspended. If you ask me, the second-grader may have been trying to shape a mountain out of a Danish, but the teacher was trying to make one out of a mole hill.
Worse, all the parents were sent a note saying the boy was suspended for using food to make an inappropriate gesture. So now people will think the kid was making a representation of a sex organ or something scatological.
Hope it wasn't a maple bar.
Even if he was making a gun so what? Kids use symbols to work out issues. A better approach would be to ask the kid why he did it and then work it out. Stigmatizing him to make a point will only make him really antisocial.
Another story was disturbing in a different way. Apparently firehouses across the country are quietly replacing the iconic brass poles that firefighters slide down. It's because of insurance liability for sprained ankles and damaged knees. Really? Sliding down a pole is damaging your joints? Whatever happened to that in-shape-more-than-anybody tough firefighter thing?
There's been one side benefit. Strip clubs have been able to pick up some cheap poles to erect in their showrooms.
To replace them, the firehouses are installing plastic playground-type slides. The firefighters? They're happier than a second-grader in a donut shop.
America, ya gotta love it.

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