Monday, February 20, 2006

Here Comes the Bribe

So many factors fuel America’s slide into apathy and obesity that it’s hard to know where to begin laying the blame. We can certainly point the finger at fast food and video games. Soft drinks. Starbucks. Xbox. PlayStation. Don’t forget the people parked on the couch watching reality TV instead of living in reality.

Oh yes, and then there’s the gym teacher in Florida charged with taking bribes from students who want to sit out of P.E. class.

In Pensacola, kids don’t have be sick to sidestep the hardships of the few remaining physical requirements in the U.S. educational system. According to the authorities, you could just slip one clever teacher a dollar a day and feel free to sit on your ass and watch the others play.

A great scam if you can get away with it. Everybody wins: the rich kids have more time to gossip, fewer students get injured in overcrowded half-court basketball games, and the teacher supplements his paltry income. And, just like every crime on Scooby-Doo, he would’ve gotten away with it.

If it weren’t for those meddling kids.

Some punks—probably scrawny nerds crawling away from dodgeball with welts the size of casabas all over their bodies—ratted the scheme out to their parents, who told the principal. Paradise lost.

But there is a bright side to the story. The debacle has refocused our attention on other Americans, whose bribes may have helped them escape certain school classes—with dramatic consequences:

Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton: Conflict resolution
Ted Kennedy: Driver’s education
Former LAPD Officer Mark Fuhrman: Criminal science
Bill Clinton: Ethics
George W. Bush: English
Former Enron CEO Ken Lay: Accounting
Hilary Clinton: Home economics
Dick Cheney: Gun safety
Britney Spears: Child care


At February 20, 2006 7:52 AM, Blogger honkeie2 replied to my musings ...

But I realy think bush should have at least done good in da english. Hell he knew he was going to be the president, his daddy told him so.

At February 20, 2006 8:08 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

News of that gym class teacher just blew me away when I heard it. I thought "Why the hell couldn't I have had a gym teacher like that, dammit!"

At February 20, 2006 8:23 AM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

No child should be allowed to bribe themselves out of dodgeball. It teaches such strong life lessons. Like taking out the weak first and it is always best to take out the strong when their back is turned. I don't know how many times in life that I have had to dodge the proverbial red ball. Shame on this gym teacher.

At February 20, 2006 8:35 AM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

15 years ago this story would have made me jealous.I would have willingly paid a dollar a day when I was a kid if it meant avoiding the horrors of gym class.

Now, as a teacher, this story makes me sick. I see what gym teachers get away with doing and get away with NOT doing everyday. If only I had the slightest shred of athletic ability...:(

At February 20, 2006 9:09 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

You gotta love Capitalism and Education fusing as one in this situation.

Here's another example for you:

Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Anniston: Drama

At February 20, 2006 10:11 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Dodgeball was one of the few gym "sports" I was good at. I was great at DODGING the ball, but it rarely ended well. As more and more of my teammates were eliminated there was a higher volume of balls being aimed at me.

Oh and in the winter months they also offered Cross-country skiing at my school. Having been a skiier since about age six or seven, I quite enjoyed the skiing. The alternative was staying inside and running laps around the perimeter of the gym.

At February 20, 2006 10:34 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

I like the use of dodgeball as a metaphor for life. Maybe it should be a required first-year course in college, just in case kids buy their way out of it in their younger years.

Phoenix: nice one, except I think that those three learned the art of drama all too well!

Perplexio: I've heard stories of kids who use skis to get to school instead of walking. Sounds good to me, unless you have to strap the skis on your back and wear them around all day.

-- david

At February 20, 2006 11:10 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

If my locker had been tall enough to fit my skis and there weren't so much asphalt, I would have gladly skiied to school every day.

There's not a lot that I miss about living near the Adirondacks, but I do miss skiing and I do miss the scenery, and that whole being close to nature thing.

At February 20, 2006 11:58 AM, Blogger KC replied to my musings ...

I used to make sure that I signed up for the gym classes that did not require wearing gym clothes. If the activity could be done in street clothes, I couldn't wait to sign up! Riflery; archery; and walking.

One exception: I would put on my gym clothes if I could get a trampoline class. I loved the trampoline! Fun times.

At February 20, 2006 12:10 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Where was this guy when I needed him?

At my school, "field hockey" was basically, "Tough kids beat the nerds with plastic sticks, with impunity, while an adult watches, chuckles, and encourages."

Guess who was a "nerd" in junior high??

At February 20, 2006 12:29 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

For European Handball-- it was one of the few gym "sports" where I wasn't picked last or close to last. Through some bizarre fluke it was discovered I was pretty solid in goal. I just used the reverse-dodgeball mentality-- put my body in front of the ball at all costs! It seemed to work.

At February 20, 2006 1:27 PM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble replied to my musings ...

The last part, with Americans helping us with classes, was the best thing ever.

At February 20, 2006 2:24 PM, Blogger FredCQ replied to my musings ...

Dick Cheney: Gun safety

If you listened closely on the day that the Cheney story broke, you could hear every single stand up comic in America cracking a joke about it.

At February 20, 2006 2:31 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Fred: I know, I know ... that's why I've held off until now. I can't beat one of the first headlines I saw about the incident, playing off of the Aerosmith hit: "Cheney's Got a Gun." But I was making this list anyway, and it seemed to fit right in.

It's shocking how much I'm learning about your childhoods. I feel like putting up a sign that says "The Doctor Is In: Advice 5 Cents."

My free advice to all: Let's throw balls at Fuzz and Perplexio, try to hit the trampoline-jumping KC, and hit the Zen Wizard with sticks.

-- david

At February 20, 2006 3:14 PM, Blogger jay lassiter replied to my musings ...

I was that strange hybrid os sissy and jock.
I never got picked last in gym, because chances are, i could help the team (b-ball, kickball, dodge ball (and 'specially *truth-or-dare*)) which made my school-boy teammates examine and mellow their own homophobic tendancies.
("he's a homo, but he's also sprye as a gazelle...")
Ah, memories of gymclass are soooooooo bittersweet.

At February 20, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

Only a dollar a day? I think that teacher could have gotten more.
Kids being "forced" to move their bodies quickly and raise their heart rate is child abuse. Schools should be ashamed for grading kids on physical fitness.
What about balancing it out by giving A's to the fattest kid, or the one with the highest cholesterol, or the one with the thickest neck?

Al Gore: Stress Management

At February 20, 2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Kitty replied to my musings ...

What about the academic teachers that said "do thus and so" and you'll get an "A"? Yes, that is the voice of experience talking ...

At February 20, 2006 6:52 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

Can I add ~ Barney Frank: Sex Ed

At February 20, 2006 7:20 PM, Blogger Leah replied to my musings ...

I often managed to get myself out of P.E. in high school. I would have done anything not to play softball with the guys... (Leah starts sobbing softly to herself.)

No seriously...middle schoolers should definitely have to participate. It's all about HUMILIATION. We had to square dance in the 6th grade as well as have our fat measured on these strange "fat calipers". Ugh. If I had to go through it, then by god everyone else has to as well.

At February 20, 2006 8:13 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A replied to my musings ...

Love the list about what we learned from other Americans!!!

At February 20, 2006 9:09 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Again, I'm learning a lot here ... if only I were a trained psychologist. Thanks to all for the comments.

Kitty: There is something to be said for identifying the target clerly, as opposed to moving the goalposts, but that kind of directions seems to stifle creativity a bit, doesn't it?

Jamie, Godwhacker: Good additions!

- david

At February 20, 2006 11:07 PM, Blogger Teri replied to my musings ...

hahah I could make a fortune charging my students money to not turn in their homework.. what a great idea :)

At February 20, 2006 11:32 PM, Blogger LocuTus of Borg replied to my musings ...

Yes, I think that about sums it up ;) HAHA

At February 21, 2006 12:42 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

Quote from Sherri's blog.

The Letterman quote.

"So we've finally found weapons of mass destruction. It's Dick Cheney."

At February 21, 2006 2:49 AM, Blogger MH_Middlechild replied to my musings ...

While I don't go for sitting around watching one's life pass by, I find PE to be one of the most ridiculous ideas in the school system. The belief that children need to be taught how to exercise absurd. Will our lives truly be enriched by knowing the rules of dodgeball or flag football?
However, I think it quite foolish and exceptionally lazy of these student to pay a dollar a day just to have the chance to sit on their bums for a few extra minutes.
As for the teacher, how dumb do you have to be to think you can bribe a bunch of school kids and not get caught? Was it worth your teaching certificate for a few extra bucks, loser?

At February 21, 2006 3:23 AM, Blogger Jim replied to my musings ...

Nick Lachey Ancient History

Michael Jackson Early Childhood Development

Jose Canseco Chemistry

At February 21, 2006 6:54 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Excellent, Jim! I don't know how I missed the Michael Jackson line ... maybe it's because I try to avoid thinking of Michael Jackson.

I also don't understand how this genius teacher thought he would get away with it. Did he think that the paying kids wouldn't brag about it ... or that the non-payers wouldn't rat him out?

-- david

At February 21, 2006 7:30 AM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

Good Scooby Doo reference.

At February 21, 2006 11:24 AM, Blogger Bar Bar A replied to my musings ...

(David - I loved your comment on Joe Perry on my classic rock blog!!!! Too funny!)

At February 21, 2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Mojotek replied to my musings ...

I heard this story on Bob & Tom a couple days ago, and it cracked me up. Kind of a brilliant idea, but pretty damn sad that he even had demand from kids to try and pull it off.

Oh yeah, please don't hate me, but:
Tag, you're it!

At February 21, 2006 1:07 PM, Blogger BrianAlt replied to my musings ...

Damn! Only a buck! He could have gotten at least $5 per kid.

At February 21, 2006 2:20 PM, Blogger none - ya replied to my musings ...

My take on obesity in America is that we are all way way way too stressed out. The best stress reliever is food. We are the second most productive country in the world. We work more than many countries and we take less vacation. And, now we have fat asses. I enjoy the junk in my trunk. That is all.

At February 21, 2006 2:40 PM, Blogger KristieD replied to my musings ...

i must have been weird, i liked gym class. I even took a few PE classes as electives in high school, and one in college. I got an A for playing outside...YAE! whats better than that. THis teacher is only teaching students to be lazy.

At February 21, 2006 3:01 PM, Blogger Sar replied to my musings ...

The list at the end is just awesome. How do you come up with these gems?

And not for anything, but a dollar a day? Those kids got off cheap! I'd have paid more than that.

At February 21, 2006 8:22 PM, Blogger Leah replied to my musings ...

Mack-n-z: One thing too though is that it's actually harder and harder for lots of Americans to eat what I'd consider to be healthy non-processed foods. In the poorest sections of Philly, there's a McDonalds on every other block it seems (or it's equivalent) and it's as cheap or cheaper than buying organic food at the grocery store. Oh wait...there's no grocery store nearby that sells organic produce. In fact, the produce that the closest grocery store sells is usually bruised, old, etc. It's really pathetic. I have to drive to a completely different section of the city to buy decent food.

And then when I go home to my hometown in GA...I'm hard pressed to find anything to eat period. There are no restaurants in town that aren't chains such as Applebees (considered the high-class place to eat) or the lower brow Pizza Hut, etc. It's just really sad. My mom eats canned, frozen, everything.

When did Americans stop wanting to be in touch with what they're putting in their bodies?

There was an experiment in the UK in which Jamie Oliver (aka the Naked Chef) challenged local schools to let him help the school staff prepare home-cooked meals for the students rather than put out the horrible processed crap they were eating. The superintendents unanimously said that the kids wouldn't eat it... but it turns out that they loved it. And it also helped the local economies b/c they were buying local produce, etc. I just think that's so awesome and I wish we could get on board here in the states.

*Leah shuts up now*

At February 21, 2006 8:31 PM, Blogger Anhoni Patel replied to my musings ...

That is so messed up. Yet...ingenious.

Today I saw a school bus that was covered in an ice cream advert instead of painted the normal yellow. Apparently, corps can now "sponsor" school buses.

At February 21, 2006 8:49 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Great comments. My ideas, to answer a few queries, come from the voices in my head. Or the chip the aliens implanted in there. Or from my channeling of a very witty 3rd century B.C. Greek comic.

I find that bus hard to believe, but I guess that's the way it's going. What's next, print ads in school textbooks?

-- david

At February 21, 2006 9:24 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Mojotek: Thanks for the offer, but sorry, no can do. I have publicly stated my unwilingness to play tag any longer: here's the link.

I return your tag to you in its original condition for a refund.

-- david

At February 21, 2006 9:35 PM, Blogger ChickyBabe replied to my musings ...

Britney Spears and child care makes me cringe! Maybe Bill can be responsible for redefining sex-ed at schools!

At February 21, 2006 11:42 PM, Blogger CT replied to my musings ...

I would still bang Britany!!! hey Dave are you up for a link exchange? let me know...

At February 22, 2006 5:57 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Sure. I'm putting your link up now ... thanks for continuing to stop by.

-- david

At February 22, 2006 2:01 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

I wish you'd post more often. The blogosphere is lacking in smart, excellent humor.

At February 22, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Crescendo replied to my musings ...

Nice white list !
And which place for Terminator ?

At February 22, 2006 4:12 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Thanks, Jamie -- I feel very affirmed today. Spread the word if you like what you see, and know that I appreciate the compliment.

If I had more time to write this free stuff for fun, I would post more often ... but I have other paying jobs that require attention. Until I hear a good suggestion that leads to payment for these essays, you'll only see posts two or three times a week when I can steal some time to draft something.

Someone else who just starting posting and has a similar style is my friend Curare Z; you can find her here at "Poisonous Points."

You should see a new post here tomorrow, assuming no pianos fall from the sky and squish me like a pancake.

-- david

At February 22, 2006 5:40 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

I actually did something similar when I was in Jr. High. I would sit back and read the newspaper in class with a friend of mine on the presumption that I'd try to get the teacher tickets to an LPGA tournament. Still passed and wasn't able to get the tickets.


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