Hot Air, Chilled Out

Life Challenges

Before we think about anything else, let’s think about this:

◗ Up to 10,000 human beings dead

◗ Hundreds of thousands without food, water, electricity, or shelter

◗ Infrastructure damage of more than $2 billion USD

◗ Agricultural damage of more than $8 billion USD

◗ Death, injuries, and destruction in the nations of Micronesia, Palau, Philippines, Vietnam, and China

Satellite View

Typhoon Haiyan Slams Into The Philippines

You and I, my friends, have no problems today.

Personal Responsibility

We’re going to take a break from the slaughter in the streets of Bloomington over the naming of a new general manager at radio station WFHB. You know — a city divided against itself, brother against brother, and all that. With the grace of god and the tender mercies of men and women of peace, the blood may soon stop flowing.

Well, okay, at least the snippy comments, sidelong looks, and emphatic harrumphs may cease; Bloomington is not Syria so we have to take pride in whatever civil war we can muster.

Anyway, a story out of Texas — where else? — has been sticking in my craw the last week as Bloomingtonians girded themselves against the invasion of Kevin Culbertson.

You’ve probably seen the story on your preferred social media outlet or on newsy sites ranging from Think Progress to InfoWars. It seems some kid went to school one day last week and stood in line for his breakfast. He comes from a needy family so his breakfast is discounted. The way it works, his mother pays into an account, which is debited each time he sits down to eat at school. If his account is tapped out, he’ll be denied his grub.

Turns out the kid’s account was shy 30 cents on the day in question. The cafeteria servers wouldn’t give him his tray. He called his mom who, in turn, called the school and said she’d be right over to throw some cash into the account. But that, apparently, wasn’t good enough for the cafeteria servers. They dumped his tray in the garbage and told the kid to scoot to class.

His mother told reporters afterward: “There were kids all around him. I think he may have been a little embarrassed and upset and, of course, hungry.”

School officials told reporters thems the rules and they ain’t nuffin’ they can do about it.

Scene from "Oliver!"

“Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?”

Maybe so. Rules are rules and if we don’t follow them all of society will devolve into chaos and next thing you know men will be able to marry men and brown-skinned commies will be elected president.

Honestly, what else are officious bureaucrats supposed to say?

So I won’t quibble with the spokesbeings for the Dickinson, Texas, Independent School District.

I will, though, happily deliver verbal slaps to those cafeteria servers.

Is it so important to you to follow every single goddamned trivial rule, I would ask (correction: demand), that you’d humiliate a 12-year-old kid and deny him his breakfast?

It was 30 cents, for pity’s sake! Thirty goddamned cents. You mean to say you couldn’t have fished out a nickel and a quarter from your own pockets just to save him from humiliation and make sure his belly was full for a day of learning?

And let’s say none of the cafeteria servers could scrape up the 30 cents. Couldn’t they have just given him his tray and forgotten about the pennies he owed? I mean, if they felt it was so important, they could have pulled him aside and said, Look, kid, tell your mom to keep your account up to date.

The original story about this incident ran on Houston TV station KTRK, an ABC affiliate. Several grafs down in the piece, reporter Erik Barajas says it’s not known if the Dickinson ISD will change its procedures so this kind of thing won’t happen again.

I say screw the ISD, Erik. You should have peppered the cafeteria servers with the very questions I pose above. Organizations, departments, and bureaucracies are chock full of rules and regs that can’t be violated on penalty of death. It’s human beings who put these strictures, even the silliest of them, into action.

And human beings denied a 12-year-old his breakfast, humiliating him as part of the bargain.

Over 30 cents.

You want a revolution? Here’s the clarion call for it: People of America! Violate stupid regulations and procedures! Disobey officious, idiotic bosses!

What happened in Dickinson wasn’t a problem with the system; it was a lack of individual human decency.

3 thoughts on “Hot Air, Chilled Out

  1. Mari the token conservative from WI says:

    Wow, I am going to comment on both of your topics. On the tragedy in the Phillipines, though the years I have gone to and worked for several Phillipino doctors. They take their vacations a couple weeks at a time to go back home and visit the family yearly. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could go back to the country that provided them with their medical training before they moved here to make more money for a few weeks now and help out in their home country in this time of need. They would be back for the onset of ObamaCare. After all there are not that many people enrolled anyway right?

    On the school issue, I was one of those moms. I let the lunch money account lapse. (Gasp!) Yet my children were allowed to eat. I just had a negative balance in their accounts and letters would come home and eventually a phone call. I’m not talking thirty cents, I’m talking fourteen dollars and thirty two cents. Times two kids. They always let my kids eat (that’s obvious since they are six foot five and six foot three now) and by the time they were in high school they even let my son buy enuf to share with (make that sell to) their friends. That is WI, the dairy state where the lunch ladies were compassionate Midwesterners.

  2. A Mariner on this Sea of Madness says:

    It is maddening to read the comments that typically go “help Americans before you help them”. I say bury ’em in aid. It’s what America is and should continue to be. As for the lunch ladies, they should be ashamed but let’s remember they are by no means typical.

  3. Susan Sandberg says:

    Regarding that Midwestern compassion, I’m going to out my sister, Sarah, who is an art teacher and has been connected with students and public schools in a number of capacities over the years. This crusty old broad has 1) bought shoes and clothing items for kids without them 2) shared her school lunches with kids going hungry 3) purchased art supplies for kids whose parents couldn’t afford the basics, 4) gone out of her way to make all students feel comfortable and welcome in her classroom, regardless of socio-economic status! Now she’s going to kill me for ruining her tough chick image, but…that’s the way she rolls. We won’t have two pots to piss in during our old crone years, but…her generosity, I’m sure, will have its own rewards.

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