School’s out for summer!

June 19, 1998

Every year when school ends, I like to remember the caring, influential, and wonderful teachers I had growing up. Both of them. This year, though, I decided to remember some of the others. I figure that if the caring and influential people are really that great, they won’t mind sharing a little of the spotlight with the mindless clones and do-nothings. Though she falls in with them, I have to say that Mrs. Trowbridge had a profound influence on my life, as well as the lives of many other children. That is, before she was forced into retirement, became a bitter recluse, and spent her days on her porch threatening real estate agents with a shotgun. The last day of school, she gathered all of us around her and said, "Children, I want you to promise me that you’ll never do three things: smoke, drink, or gamble." This was in those innocent days of the seventies when only rock stars overdosed, and there was no reason to believe drugs were a problem. No one said anything, which is probably just as well–if we had, some of us might feel bad once in a while. I’d kind of like to go and visit her, and say, "Mrs. Ridgemore, I have never gambled much," and then go on to tell her about the profound impact she had on my life. How she prepared me for those years in college when I worked on assembly lines, how I think of her every time I see a wooden paddle with holes in it, and the way her spirit seems to be in the room every time I hear someone say, "It’s that way because I say so!" The bruises are gone, but thanks to modern psychology, memories like those will be with me always.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


WHY "SPORTS SCHOLARSHIP" IS AN OXYMORON

"You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle"
— Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach

"That’s so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."
— Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker

"You guys line up alphabetically by height"
— Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach

"I play football. I’m not trying to be a professor. The tests don’t seem to make sense to me, measuring your brain on stuff I haven’t been through in school."
— Clemson recruit Ray Forsythe, who was ineligible as a freshman because of academic requirements

"I know the Virginia players are smart because you need a 1500 SAT to get in. I have to drop bread crumbs to get our players to and from class"
— George Raveling, Washington State basketball coach

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."
— Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson hooking up again with promoter Don King

"I can’t really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
— Shaquille O’Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece

"The ballparks have gotten too crowded. That’s why nobody goes to see the game anymore."
— Yogi Berra

"I’m going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."
— Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
— Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann


Top fifty-one Oxymorons

51. Friendly Fire
50. Act naturally
49. Found missing
48. Resident alien
47. Advanced BASIC
46. Genuine imitation
45. Airline Food
44. Good grief
43. Same difference
42. Almost exactly
41. Government organization
40. Sanitary landfill
39. Alone together
38. Legally drunk
37. Silent scream
36. British fashion
35. Living dead
34. Small crowd
33. Business ethics
32. Soft rock
30. Military Intelligence
29. Software documentation
28. New York culture
27. New classic
26. Sweet sorrow
25. Childproof
24. "Now, then …"
23. Synthetic natural gas
22. Christian Scientists
21. Passive aggression
20. Taped live
19. Clearly misunderstood
18. Peace force
17. Extinct Life
16. Temporary tax increase
14. Plastic glasses
13. Terribly pleased
12. Computer security
11. Political science
10. Tight slacks
9. Definite maybe
8. Pretty ugly
7. Twelve-ounce pound cake
6. Diet ice cream
5. Rap music
4. Working vacation
3. Exact estimate
2. Religious tolerance
And the Number one top OXY-Moron,
1. Microsoft Works

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