Does the Wet Suit You


Playground Fight

By J.J. Gasparotti

Have any of you ever had a job as an elementary school grounds monitor, where you supervise the activities of school children during recess and other active play times? It’s a popular job as the schedule is light and sometimes a school lunch is included.

A big part of the job is preventing or breaking up disputes and fights between the children. The very first thing you are told about the job is, “When children are fighting, they all are at fault.” This is usually true no matter how much they protest that the other one started it. The fact is that they are all behaving badly and need a time out.

The very same could be said for our entire school district administration, both the board and its paid management staff. They are behaving very badly and need a time out to recover from their melt down. Too bad we can’t give them cookies and some milk before a nice soothing nap, from which they will awake refreshed and temperate, if only it were that easy.

But these folks are adults and their conduct can’t be excused as a childish episode of acting out. They are all supposed to know better and be able to control their emotions, like grownups.

Perhaps the problem rests with the special lunches these administrators may have been consuming. With its recent school calendar change, the school board has shown a real predilection for Roadkill Stew. This is a dish that requires great dedication to consume. It is best washed down with an ice-cold glass of Kool-Aid. Some call it the Jim Jones Special.

You can only enjoy this rancid recipe by being a member of a small group that has isolated itself from outside influences and has become convinced you are the only ones possessed with a vision of the real truth. You are the special, anointed few.

This condition is called group think. A really good example was when a small group of advisors around President Kennedy convinced themselves that nobody could blame the Bay of Pigs Invasion on the United States. Right.

The self-delusion grows from there. It becomes excusable to deviate from norms of conduct that have been in place for generations. Collegial relations fall by the wayside. People with conflicting opinions are excoriated and excluded. Brutal methods are used to force their silence.

It may be time to recall the whole bunch. Give them some time to get professional help for all their issues and to start eating a healthy diet.


J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.

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