Sunday, November 27, 2016

Making College Safe Again (Social Satire)

     In early June the Del Boca Gazette broke the story under the banner headline, “ 1 in 5 Del Boca scholars say they were bilked.”    The scholars to whom the article referred were the scores of Del Boca university students attending college in nearby Andromeda city.  Typical was the case of twenty year old Eden Forbes, who remembers going to a tailgate party where she got “blackout drunk”.  The next thing she knew she woke up in a strange bed with three goats, a feral cat, and a bill of sale with a scrawl on it which purported to be her signature.  “I was bilked against my will”, said Forbes, “like, if I was in my right head that’s not something I would do.  I don’t even like cats.”

     The disturbing revelations in the Gazette article electrified Del Boca.  An emergency meeting of the Neighbors and Friends Association was convened to discuss the problem of non-consensual bilking.  Morgana Worth, Andromeda University’s Dean of Student affairs, and Simon Gatsby the Police Chief of Andromeda City, were invited to explain themselves to the good people of Del Boca.
     “We send our kids off to Andromeda,” said Francine Frei, “and what happens?  They get bilked against their will!  What are you people doing to protect our kids!?”
     “Well, it is a difficult problem,” said Morgana Worth, “Everyone knows that bilking is bad, but with the alcoholic haze that hovers over America’s universities today it is sometimes difficult to know when you have a binding contract and when you’ve been bilked.  Much lies in the perception of the contracting parties, and when they are both drunk it is sometimes difficult to sort out intent.”
      “Sounds like you want our kids to stop partying.” said Francine Frei, “The Constitution says they have the right to party.  It guarantees them the right to do whatever they want to do without being hassled.”
      “Well, of course adults and near adults should be free to drink as much as they want, whenever they want, wherever they want,” said Morgana Worth, “but being drunk can place you at greater risk of something bad happening to you.”
      “That just sound like victim bashing.” said Estrellita Charnovsky, “The University needs to make sure that everyone respects each other at all times no matter what condition they are in.  What are we paying you people for anyway?”
     “Well there are some bad people out there who will always take advantage,” interjected Chief Gatsby.
      There was an audible gasp from the assembled crowd.  The clicking of Tweets drowned out every other sound:  “#Chief Gatsby calls People bad.”  “Gatsby thinks we are still living in #20th century where #the People are the enemy”.  “No bad people.  Just #bad cops.”
     “I mean, I’ve read about such people in history,” the Chief quickly back-peddled, “not that there is anybody bad out there now.  I’m just saying”
     “What are you saying Chief Gatsby,” said Francine Frei.
     “Well, it’s just if you have a big fat old wallet full of cash, or a purse stuffed with cash and credit cards it might not be the best idea to get blackout drunk just on the off chance that one of those ‘bad people’ from the old days might just happen to show up and bilk you.  A fool and her money are soon parted.”
     “I for one,” said Ned Clapp, “can’t waste my time arguing up hypothetical non-existent ‘bad people’.  We have a serious problem here and we need real solutions.  Perhaps the solution is to lower the drinking age to six or seven so young people can learn to drink responsibly before they get to college.”
    Principal Violet Bell, from Del Boca Elementary, perked up at this suggestion.  She thought that wine and cheese should have replaced milk and cookies long ago.
     “I’m not sure I agree with that approach,” said Morgana Worth, “as an educator I think it is more important that younger children learn to wash and dress themselves and learn how to read before they  learn the finer points of beer pong, body shots, and keg stands.  Children need to learn self-discipline and self-restraint.”
     The room erupted in Tweets: “Andromeda U run by #fascists!” “Sieg Heil Andromeda U”      
     Francine Frei tried to calm the crowd and return the conversation to something reasonable and achievable.  “I’m going to recommend that we petition the University and the Mayor to make it mandatory that people wear warning labels, so that our kids will know who to look out for.”
     “Brilliant!” said Ned Clapp, “A scarlet letter B sewn on the front of a garment to signify ‘Bilker’, and maybe ‘CF’ for crypto-fascist,” he said, looking squarely at Morgana Worth.
      When the meeting broke up, the people of Del Boca knew that they had done all THEY could by voting to lower the drinking age and to compel everyone to wear warning labels, but they were not quiet in their minds.  It would probably take intervention by the Federal government to clean up the mess the university and police had made of their children’s lives.

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