Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The PTA and the Fonz

I am the copy editor for my son's school newsletter, which is put out each month by the PTA.  I read the articles and make suggestions on grammar, punctuation, and format.  It is a well-done piece that covers everything from the monthly cafeteria menu to the dates for the next book fair.

Yesterday, however, the PTA newsletter jumped the shark.  In case you aren't familiar with that term, it comes from a scene in Happy Days. In this tense moment, Fonzie, wearing his leather jacket and Daisy Dukes - but safely wrapped in some type of inflatable Boppy - accepts the challenge to ski over a shark.  As Richie Cunnigham nervously steers the boat towards the ramp, the crowd watches in anticipation, and then you see Fonzie's little stunt-man fanny sail up in the air and easily clear the fake fin.

Here's the scene if you have a high pain tolerance:

Somewhere, Annette Funnicello is rolling over in her grave.  Unless she is still alive, in which case she just threw up in her mouth a little bit.  

Anyway, I'm reading along in the PTA newsletter, and I come to the article from the Healthy Habits Committee.  It's all about water safety this summer: "Read the pool rules" and "Wear your goggles" and "If you do come close to a shark and it is about to attack, punch it in the eyes and nose" and ....

Um, WHAT?!  I don't .... understand ....

There is an entire section on how to defend yourself against sharks.  Don't swim during their feeding times, don't wear shiny bathing suits, don't get in the ocean if you're bloody because they can smell you, and then, the finale, how to punch them in the face.

I don't know about you, but if Suzie Second Grader comes face to face with a Great White, all the bitch-slapping in the world ain't gonna save her. 

I continue to be puzzled as to why the PTA included this how-to in their article.  Is this on the national platform?  Is it in the bylaws? Was it simply a case of blind cut-and-paste plagiarism?  Whatever the reason, as a former PTA officer, I am going to trust their instincts on this one.  I am going to be sure that I share this data with my 12 and 9-year-olds, so that one day, when they are on CNN being interviewed after having subdued Orca, they can proudly say, "I jumped the shark thanks to the PTA."  And somewhere, the Fonz will be wiping away tears of joy.

Until next time, keep crowin' and watch your backs!

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