Whether you are a fan of South Park or not, five of the funniest minutes I have ever seen on television are from an episode a few years back about smoking. South Park elementary invited in this group called Butt Out that put on a presentation so obscenely lame and yet so familiar that I turned red from rambunctious laughter, which doesn’t happen often with me.

Up until my senior year Mayne High School would invite some person to our school to warn us about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and/or depression. One year it was this black guy that flung a basketball around a bit and sang some song about a girl named Emily who was addicted to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco or maybe committed suicide or maybe all of the above. The next year was the announcer for that Chicago-based clown… Bozo, I think. He was actually pretty good. A bit schmaltzy, but entertaining enough that we went back to see him that night. The next year was a stand-up comic that was absolutely hilarious.

The next year they had a power forward for the Colosse Spiders professional basketball team. He gave us his life story, which mostly seemed to consist of screwing up (or, as he put it, “making poor decisions”… he never went into detail). So it was something like: screwed up in high school, got into college anyway. Screwed up in college, got to stick around for four years anyway. Screwed up again, ended up in the NBA. The moral of the story was that having a great jump shot entitles you to all the poor decisions you care to make.

When I explained this whole thing to Dad, he laughed. The basketball player in question had been caught with pot in his car and had copped a “Community Service” plea. I guess we were the community service.

So many of the morality crusaders that came to our school were entertaining in their own way. We missed those guys that rip the phone book in half and attribute their success to Jesus Christ* moral living. I guess they figured that as a senior we wouldn’t be impressed or that they would be washing their hands of us sooner or later so no need to give us a lecture at that stage in the game.

The other day I was standing outside a pizza place and looked over and saw a DARE table manned by a black guy in a suit (in unbearable heat). My first thought was that maybe he had been caught with some pot in his car like the basketball player**, but he was way too enthusastic for it. He was walking up to all sorts of people. He was more like a LaRouche fanatic at the airport, a religious missionary, or a military recruiter*** than someone filling out a time card to avoid jail. You couldn’t pay me enough to spend time doing that sort of thing, but I guess it’s good that someone is enthusiastic about it.

* – More than one of these speakers danced the church/state line, particularly (interestingly enough) Bozo the Clown’s right hand man. The Emily guy did, too. Bozo’s Buddy managed to get by by touching on the subject very briefly and then saying that he would talk about it that night for anyone that wanted to stop by (as long as it is afterhours, I don’t think that there are any church/state issues). The Emily Dude got by because after a certain point none of us cared what he was saying. I’m told that the phonebook rippers never mentioned God or Jesus per se, but their speech was riddled with religious terminology (shepherds and immoral temptation and whatnot).

** – I’d like to think the fact that he was black did not enter into my thinking that he might be a criminal. I think not, though, because when I think “pot possession” I tend to think bored suburban white guy.

*** – Interestingly enough, the DARE table was set up caticorner to a military recruiting station. If you ever get a chance to stand outside a military recruiting station, I recommend it. Lots of father’s pulling their sons in by the collar threatening what’s going to happen if they don’t get into a good college.

Category: Ghostland, School

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7 Responses to Celebrities For Squaredom

  1. Webmaster says:

    Sounds like Mr. Basketball Player could very well have come from some earlier situations we’ve discussed.

    Though I’m amazed at what celebrities/celebutants/’athletes’ can still somehow manage to get away with.

  2. Veronica says:

    HA! We had Miss Texas come sing country music for us as some sort of bribe to keep up off drugs. And, an animatronic Gruff the Crime Dog. WOOT!

    We also had this crazy Highway Patrol presentation every two years, full of pictures of dead people, killed by drunk drives, accompanied with the story and Q&A from parents and siblings who’s teens were dead, and I shit you not, it was a Prom Queen, a Quarterback, and a Homecoming Queen. ‘Cause you know, it’s only a REAL tragedy when a popular kid keels over.

  3. trumwill says:

    And, an animatronic Gruff the Crime Dog.

    That is unbelievably cool.

    ‘Cause you know, it’s only a REAL tragedy when a popular kid keels over.

    You ever hear the song “Death of a Cheerleader” by Marcy Playground (of “Sex and Candy” fame)? It’s about a cheerleader whose bravery and awesomeness continued after death because she bought attention to the issue of young suicide. Absolutely hilarious.

    We also had this crazy Highway Patrol presentation every two years, full of pictures of dead people, killed by drunk drivers,

    They came around my high school around prom time and showed us a (tah-dah) prom queen that got her face bashed in. One wonders if the message to the ladies was “Not only will you die, you’ll die UGLY!” Not sure what they were aiming for with the guys, but “Woah, cool!” probably wasn’t it.

  4. Webmaster says:

    Heh, Will.

    Gotta agree w/ Veronica a bit on that too – the level of a “tragedy” always seems to increase when they can say “look this happened to a popular kid.”

  5. Veronica says:

    I suppose that “Andy NEVER CAME HOME FROM THE D&D GAME!” doesn’t have the same emotional impact?

  6. trumwill says:

    Besides, who’s gonna invite any of the Andys to any parties or offer them beer?

  7. Peter says:

    As I understand it, the practice of showing movies of mutilated stiffs to driver’s ed classes has been around for decades.

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