A local newspaper headline this morning has given me a great idea. Today's Tampa Tribune, front page upper right, reads: "District to Mask Kids with Flu Signs". The plan, designed to arrest the spread of swine flu in Hillsborough County's schools, is to have school kids don protective masks at the first sign of illness.
It's not an unreasonable idea. No problems here.
While we're at it, though, wouldn't it be sweet to slap duct tape over the big mouths of people - especially public figures - at the first signs of stupidity. Then, for good measure or as needed, we could add a paper bag over the head.
Remember the Baptist minister in Arizona who prayed for the president's death? "Rev. Steven Anderson," we could say; "You have been found publicly stupid. It's duct-tape time for you."
Kanye West could have been apprehended on the spot at the MTV Music Awards. "Put down Taylor Swift's microphone and report immediately to the office. You may have to wear this duct tape the rest of your life."
Immediate censure for the politically inept: "Representative Joe Wilson, you have the impulse control of a three year-old. Sit still while we apply some duct tape. Any more out of you and it'll be the paper bag."
The list goes on: "Serena Williams, come on down." "Michael Moore, hold still for a moment." "_____ ______, this is your final warning."
Today I'm writing up next week's "community profile" column for the newspaper. I interviewed a middle school principal. "Our job is academic," she said. "But a lot is teaching students how to cope with adversity, how to be nice, how to treat each other with respect; you've got to do what's right in this world."
How on earth are our schools going to even begin to achieve that kind of result when the grown-ups they see on television are so disrespectful, so hateful, so inconsiderate, so uncivil?
Wake up America. Stop acting the fool. I've got duct tape, and I'm not afraid to use it.