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Senior Year 2 [message #8394] Fri, 13 December 2013 12:26 Go to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
"Mr. Dobson, I'm looking into the incidence of cholera outbreaks, so I need to examine the early public health reports. Just sign here."

.............

"The State Historical Society has that information in the archives. All I need is for you to sign this form."

.......................

"Mr. Dobson, if you'll just sign this I'll be able to get the information about early voting in the state."

.............................

Yeah, I was back at McAllen for my Senior year. Some, anyway. There were several junior colleges around town that offered Cosmetology but all them had a conflict with either Calculus, Physics, Computer Science or Business English. I guess they didn't expect Cosmetology students to take anything else, so I wound up going to McAllen for the zero-dark-thirty Cosmetology class, staying around for homeroom then changing at Rachel's and going downtown to Tramway Tech.

Tramway Tech[0] was in the original Home Base Trolley car Company building. Classes were held in the four-story office building. Out back were vast echoing parking garages with tracks on the floors where they parked the trains once upon a time. There was continuous talk about converting them to classrooms but that would take a lot of construction because there was absolutely nothing out there but some fluorescents in the ceilings, plus it would make parking a lot worse because students could park there for free.

The first couple of weeks I kept hearing snatches of conversation about "the best joke ever," "he didn't even read it, just signed at the bottom," and "Dobson" but nobody would tell me what was going on.

On the third Monday's homeroom period the PA system emitted, "The following students report to the office conference room: Eugene Tucker, Michael Johanssen, Deborah Carstairs, Valerie Faciszewski, Kathy Collins ...." It went to include all Da Boyz, The Pack and most of our Littles.

As we trooped through the halls nobody would tell me what was going on but there was some barely-suppressed glee mixed in with barely-supressed fear.

When we got to the conference room we found Dobson standing at the front of the room under a whiteboard with "DOBSON FOR CITY COUNCIL" on it. Dobson did not look pleased. There were a young woman and a guy festooned with cameras up front with him.

He announced, "Everyone sit down and shut up." Once we had found seats he continued, "Ms. Dixon is with the Gazette and is here to interview me about my candidacy for the City Council. Ms. Dixon, I'd like to introduce my campaign staff. At the start of the semester I received a stream of students wanting my signature on forms requesting access to various things such as Public Health and Election Commission archives. Somewhere in there was the form declaring my candidacy."

"Well done, ladies and gentlemen, well done indeed. A good joke well executed." He gave us a terrifying grin. "However, while I am a candidate *you are my campaign staff.* You'll come up with my platform, write my position papers and speeches, figure out the mechanics and finances for yard signs and bumper stickers, find venues for fundraisers. Go door to door explaining that you're finding out what a political campaign is all about.

"The Gazette and the school paper will be following this with interest because all of you dedicated students have volunteered for an extra-credit Civics class in your copious spare time. I'll even show up at the various 'meet the candidates' functions and make approving noises about you.

"This will continue until a week before the deadline for withdrawing from the election. You can ask for advice from anyone who is willing to provide it but you will do the work yourselves. Your efforts will be graded by a committee of the Civics, History and English teachers."

He paused a moment and then gave us a genuine smile. "Now go out there and make us proud of your efforts."

------------------------------

[0] Based on the University of Colorado at Denver campus Once Upon A Time. Also called UCLA - University of Colorado between Laurence and Arapaho, the two streets between which the Tramway building was located.
Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8395] Fri, 20 December 2013 22:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jamie85  is currently offline Jamie85
Messages: 3
Registered: February 2011
Location: Canada
Junior Member
Lol, mkemp

Wonderfully done, you should consider writing a whole episode,

Thanks, and have a very merry chistmas
Jamie
Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8396] Sat, 21 December 2013 13:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
[Segment of local affairs television program]

[Cut to Melissa and Dobson sitting at a table. The room is painted in institutional blue and white and has whiteboards on the walls.]

Melissa: And we're back with _Around the City with Melissa Margolis_. Today, we're visiting Paul Dobson, principal of McAllen High School and an inadvertent candidate for City Council. Principal Dobson, thank you for this interview.

Dobson: You're very welcome.

Melissa: Principal Dobson, the circumstances surrounding your candidacy for City Council is a rather interesting story. Can you tell us more about it?

Dobson: The basic fact is that a group of students were able to get me to sign the form declaring my candidacy.

Melissa: What's puzzling to many is your reaction.

Dobson: [smiling] It was a joke. Nobody got hurt, nothing got destroyed, no laws were broken. If they'd forged my name it would be a different matter entirely, but they didn't.

Melissa: You're taking this lightly. Aren't you afraid that it will lessen your authority?

Dobson: I wouldn't say I'm taking it lightly, just seeing the humor in it. I could have gone on a rampage, rounded up all the usual suspects, launched an investigation, tried to suspend them, slammed them into detention, but that wouldn't have accomplished anything. I decided to turn it into a teaching opportunity and made the punishment fit the crime.

Melissa: What do you mean?

Dobson: Learning about elections is a Civics lesson, so I made the kids my campaign staff and the Civics, History and English teachers are going to grade their efforts. They'll learn something about elections and work hard at being my campaign staff.

Melissa: You aren't tempted to really run for office?

Dobson: Definitely not! Not now, not ever.

Melissa: Then why are you doing this?

Dobson: As I said, as a teaching opportunity. As a way to participate. Plus, I have to admit, it's been fun playing the part of a candidate.

Melissa: One doesn't think of high school principals doing things for fun.

Dobson: The common image of a high school principal is the stone-faced, hidebound ogre in the office who metes out wildly disproportional punishments for the slightest infraction. [tilts his head and smiles wryly] Who's upset that the bleeeding-heart liberals outlawed corporal punishment so he can't award them six of the best. [more relaxed demeanor] Actually we're just like everyone else - we shop for groceries, mow the lawn, dress up for plays and concerts, invite friends over for beer and barbecue.

Melissa: This non-election is rather different than the issues for which McAllen has been in the news in the past.

Dobson: [shakes his head] I'll have to admit that last year wasn't our best.

Melissa: The assault on one of your students, the destruction of your band hall, the student strike.

Dobson: Yes. I think we've dealt with the issues that brought all that about.

Melissa: There's one thing you did last year that raised eyebrows - you Field Day events.

Dobson: Yes; that's something to which I think we can point with pride.

Melissa: Tell us about it.

Dobson: The traditional Field Day is a bunch of contests typically won by the school's athletes and the non-athletic kids are left out. When it came time to plan I realized that we had a rather large and diverse student body and that there were groups of kids other than the athletes who had skills and talents that they never got to show off. Singers and dancers and kids doing rock music in their garages. Magicians and computer gamers and math wizards. I was able to get archery on the list. I'd have included rifle and pistol marksmanship if I could. Same with downhill skiing and ice skating. I don't know if anyone could do aerobatics. Or if there are any fencers.

Melissa: [completely surprised] Rifle and pistol shooting!?

Dobson: Skeet shooting, too. There are students who do that kind of thing, who are safe, and who are good at it. It would be nice to have their skills recognized. Look, let's not go into this now because that's a discussion for another time. One thing I have been able to do is introduce some pratical subjects into the Home Economics and Shop classes - changing light bulbs, resetting circuit breakers, basic plumbing like how to unclog sinks, checking a car's fluids and tire pressures, that kind of thing. Next semester we'll be covering things like what a checking account is and how to balance one, the basics of household budgeting, tactical cooking and housekeeping for guys. Sewing on buttons, fixing tears, that kind of thing. There are things that are [finger quotes] women's work because guys don't know how because nobody ever taught them. The same for [finger quotes] men's work. [pauses for a beat] There's nothing that a woman can do that a man can't, and very few things that a man can do that a woman can't. There are obvious differences - men are generally larger and stronger and women generally have better color vision and manual dexterity - but the basic sentiment is true.

Melissa: [obviously trying to get the interview back on topic] So, you don't want anyone to vote for you?

Dobson: Absolutely not. [looks at the camera] Don't vote for me, don't write my name on the ballot. I'll be glad when it's over. It's been fun but tiring and time-consuming.

Melissa: How does your wife feel about it?

Dobson: Dorothy did the supportive wife thing a couple of times then told me I was on my own.

Melissa: And we're out of time. Principal Dobson, thank you for making the time.

Dobson: My pleasure.

Melissa: [to the camera] "And that's it for _Around the City with Melissa Margolis_."

[Updated on: Tue, 24 December 2013 03:30]

Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8397] Tue, 24 December 2013 03:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
I was going into Dobson's office to do some maintenance on the GLEE Club's answering machine PC when a guy in a suit brushed past me and started yelling at Dobson. "Why are you messing with the cheerleading routines?"

My first class at Tramway Tech wasn't for a while so I had time to see what was going on. I certainly had no problem with something that took the cheerleaders down a peg or six.

Dobson sat back in his chair and said mildly, "Sit down and moderate your tone, sir."

The guy leaned forward and kept yelling. "None of those girls will get scholarships if they can't do those routines!"

Dobson sat up straight and his voice took on a command tone that reminded me of Sarge Lanier. "Sit down, sir, and moderate your tone. I will not be spoken to in this manner!"

The guy flopped down into a chair across from Dobson. I put down my stuff and took a seat on the Group W bench where I could watch what was happening. I wouldn't have thought Dobson would be able to control a guy that way. Dobson said, "You seem to be concerned that I've prohibited the fancy aerial cheerleading routines."

"Yes, dammit! The team won't be able to win contests and the girls won't be able to win scholarships without them!"

"I'm concerned with the girl's safety."

"You don't seem to be care about the boys playing football!"

"The football players wear helmets and pads, the cheerleaders don't. Go count the number of girls at a cheer practice and the number who are sitting out because they're injured, then go do the same with the football players. We have four times as many football players and fewer injuries."

"You're ruining my girl's chance at a scholarship! I'll go to the school board about this!"

"Please do, sir, and kindly leave my office."

The guy stood up. "You'll be hearing about this," he declaimed as he left in a huff.

Dobson caught sight of me. "Did you need something, Tuck?"

I brought my stuff with me as I entered his office. "He seemed kinda p- ticked off."

Dobson rubbed his temples. "This job would be so much easier without having to deal with parents. He's willing to put his daughter at risk for the one-in-a-thousand chance of a full scholarship."

"One in a thousand? That doesn't sound like good odds."

"I looked at the probabilities of a boy playing professional ball and the odds actually are one in a thousand. Maybe it's a little better for high school cheerleaders trying to get into college, but I doubt it."

"I don't like cheerleaders much but are they really that likely to get hurt?"

"Yes. Plus all the other sports have trainers who know about sports medicine but the cheer coaches and assistants don't know much at all. I think we're really lucky that we've avoid a catastrophic injury."

The memory of slamming into a locker flashed through my mind. Catastrophic injuries sounded just fine to me. All I said was, "Uh, yeah." I looked at my watch. "I was going to do maintenance on the Glee club computer but I'm kinda running out of time. I'll do it Thursday."

"I don't blame you for carrying a grudge but we got rid of the worst ones and things are getting better. He paused for a moment. "On another topic, would Valerie know anyone who could make cheer uniforms?"

This was really from left field. "Um, not that uh, she knows of." This was such a strange question I had to ask why.

"Because the Varsity Uniform company pretty much has a monopoly and they charge a lot. Actually, almost everything to do with cheer seems to be geared to making them money - uniforms, competitions that cost a lot to enter, coach certifications that cost a lot and don't teach much."

I got a little intrigued in spite of myself. "Cheer uniform designs are probably copyrighted, so making copies is out. You might look into things like tennis dresses or combinations of short skirts and blice."

"Blice?"

"Plural of blouse."

He said, "Oh. well, I'm probably tilting at a windmill with this." He smiled a little. "The cheerleaders were always fun to watch from the field, though."

Dobson was a jock? This was a bizarre turn of events. "Really?"

"Four hundred meter hurdles and the javelin. I was never that competitive but I figured the hurdles would be good for running away from trouble and the javelin's a good self-defense weapon. Never had to use either but they kept me from turning into a doughy blob in college."

My TMI sensors were overloading so I told him I had to get to class and left. This was as disorienting as having dinner with him and his wife while dressed as Valerie.

[Updated on: Wed, 25 December 2013 10:48]

Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8398] Wed, 25 December 2013 07:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
Messages: 355
Registered: April 2012
Senior Member
Thank you, and a merry Christmas to all!
Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8403] Wed, 01 January 2014 16:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Brooke  is currently offline Brooke
Messages: 695
Registered: August 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Senior Member
Hopefully, someone will suggest to Dobson that he get quotes for insurance that will actually *cover* the cheerleaders if they have accidents. Several quotes. With and without the routines that father wants added back in. And maybe with other variants such as what if the cheer coaches get *real* training (sports medicine and appropriate first aid certs). As well as the cost to get them that training.

Throw in a few statistics on injuries and the odds of actually getting a scholarship.

Then present *that* to the school board. If they are like most, they'll cave in to their lawyers and back Dobson. And the parents might back off given the extra fees (and waivers) that the school board might want.

Of course, as we know looking back from 15 years later, even *with* the protective gear football isn't all that safe.

The waivers could be fun. Base them on something like the one for parachute jumping that Heather Alexander described on one of her albums. Where she had to not merely sign, but *write out* the bit about understanding that serious injury or even death was possible. Makes it *real* hard to claim you didn't know the risks.

Why do I believe that somehow this cheerleading stuff will get dragged into the campaign. And that Dobson may get stuck having to run.

Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8405] Wed, 01 January 2014 20:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
"If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve."
Dobson's going to withdraw from the race before the election.
His platform has been written by him and the students to draw attention to things they think are important.

Anybody want to write some campaign speeches?
Re: Senior Year 2 [message #8406] Wed, 01 January 2014 23:17 Go to previous message
Sir Lee  is currently offline Sir Lee
Messages: 440
Registered: October 2003
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Senior Member
I live in the wrong hemisphere so I'm way more than a little out of touch with things regarding so-called American "football" (a misnomer if I have ever seen one), but I do remember reading something regarding helmets & such -- there was some argument that after the introduction of hard helmets, injuries actually *increased* since players started hitting harder.


Don't call me Shirley. You will surely make me surly.
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