Friday, 15 June 2012

Clothing Style

When a company comes around to the point of establishing a dress code….it’s typically because some idiots or dimwits….have grossly violated general rules of dress. It’s a sad thing, because the newly written dress code starts to inflict pains upon a large group of folks, and tends to get excessive.

This week….out in the Tucson area of Litchfield…..the school district decided that teachers have run amok. So there’s new rules being discussed. Proposed? No rubber-soled flip flops, which might be understandable.

No visible undergarments, which means if you are a woman…..you don’t have some blouse with half your bra showing, or a pair of pants with a fair amount of your underwear showing.

There’s not to be any blouse outfit that shows your gut (men or women). That kinda takes out tube tops and such.

Your pants, blouse, skirt or otherwise….should not be regarded as “too tight” (the judge on this issue will have a job on his hands).

The clothing you wear should not be too loose or “transparent” (meaning that your bra shouldn’t be seen from sixty feet away, if you know what I mean).

There can’t be any bare shoulders, which cuts out tank-tops for men or women. Short skirts are not supposed to be acceptable.

Exercise pants are to be absolutely forbidden.

And guys need to wear a shirt with a collar….at all times.

On top of these recommendations right now (it hasn’t passed yet), the board asked if hair color or obvious body piercings ought to be put on the list. You can imagine the heated feelings for some gals who have twelve different piercings that are normally noticed, if they make an effort. They even hint of a discussion on tattoos being visible….which might mean that nifty $700 tattoo on your leg might be issues.

You can imagine the heated discussions now in the teacher’s lounge. Summer is about to arrive in Tucson, and a few folks were fixed up for summer school….in the heat of a Arizona 110-degree period. Teachers over the last forty years have gotten used to minimum clothing, flip-flops, and tank-tops (even the 60-year old teachers).

I sat and pondered over this. I grew up in Bama during the 1960s and 1970s. Female teachers dressed appropriately….meaning that they dressed like they were going to church. For about the first eight years of school….the worse you can say was some teacher had on too much make-up or too much perfume.

Somewhere around 1974, I started to notice a teacher or two in the transparent department, with outfits that you couldn’t buy in Bama (obviously, they’d been to Atlanta or Nashville). In the eighth grade, we had some new female math teacher that arrived and taught for one year….who wore clothing that you expected off some cocktail waitress in Birmingham (that was back in the better days when you could drink a cocktail in Birmingham).

In the twelfth grade, I had “Bear” as a biology teacher….who was some WW II vet who dressed in a plain short-sleeved white shirt every single day and a plain black tie. I can’t even envision “Bear” even wearing a blue or green shirt….he just wouldn’t do it.

Clothing “too-tight”? I can remember a college class at Ramstein in the mid-1980’s where the college instructor gal showed up wearing a size 12 dress, when it ought to have been a size 14 size. Every single class meeting was the same dress issue. I was always afraid that she’d bend over at some point to pick up the chalk off the floor, and bust open her outfit.

Up at Tacoma, I had a university instructor gal, who dressed in rough tough men’s clothing for the outback of Montana, and admitted one day that this was the only clothing she owned….having spent the last six years at some archeological dig and now run out of funding to dig…..so she had to teach to make a living. I guess it was acceptable, but I just sat and wondered how she ever did the interview with the community college director in an “Indiana” Jones outfit and work boots.

I’m guessing the union will pick up on this issue and get all torn up about the intentions here. The sad truth is that you have teachers who’ve given up on dress and appearance. They look more like flower shop ladies in Santa Monica, farmers from Red Bay, or homeless folks from Philly. They’d wear exercise pants because they feel mostly like they are in pajamas. I’m guessing there’s even tramp of the day competition going on between five or six teachers.

The sad thing here….there’s probably an English teacher or two….who have tongue piercings. These folks spend hundreds of hours each year mispronouncing English words, and some kid graduates to go onto university, with a pronunciation of teptic tank (instead of septic tank) or Bradil (instead of Brazil). The kid has mastered the English language via some tongue-tied high school teacher with a fancy tongue piercing. We’ve gone and lost our compass in life.

The Kid

Dixon, Illinois isn't really known for much.

In it's hayday of the late 1920s.....the locals had this little park along Rock River. There was this couple (the Graybills) who managed the park, and ran concessionaires there.

This was before the great depression, and there was ample money to be made. The draw? Rock River of course, where you could come out and swim.

There was one problem with this great opportunity for folks.  It really depended on Rock River and an element of safety. You just couldn't allow anyone to drown. It was bad for the park.....bad for business.....and it affected possibility of you losing your business license. Bluntly......you just could have anyone drown. 

So Ed and Ruth Graybill went out to find someone that they could trust to be the lifeguard.

Unlike the wussy atmosphere of today.....if you were a lifeguard working for the Graybills....you were a multitask individual, and put into a full twelve-hour day....probably seven days out of the week.  If stormy weather was predicted....that was probably your only way of getting a day off.  Don't even bother discussing a forty-hour limit. Don't even think about talking over bonuses or extras.

Ed and Ruth found this one punk kid from the local area. He was clean-cut, willing to work the extra hours, and polite. The kid admitted he was a pretty fair swimmer. In those days....you probably were certified by some Red Cross guy.....but there wasn't any real training to be a lifeguard, compared to today's atmosphere.  So, you really had to know something about swimming.

This punk kid hired.....quickly learned the routine. He had to haul around the coolers to get filled with ice each day, for the concessionaires. He made sure things were kept clean and orderly.

Ed and Ruth tried hard to stretch out every single nickle and dime for their business....so they even got real floodlights.  This would have been new and unusual for the era, and placed them along the river. The hopes were.....folks would stay around past dark....sipping sodas and munching on snacks they sold. You can imagine this concentration of effort....to bring every single cent into the operation.

This punk kid had an opportunity to watch this.....seven days a week. It's an amazing thing to consider, but the punk kid worked alone. Ed and Ruth just couldn't afford another lifeguard. The kid had to be there on time....do the odd tasks....watch for dimwits in the water....and stay way past sundown.

On an average day.....there might have a couple hundred folks come by....on a great weekend day....maybe a thousand.  Rock River was a decent draw for the local area. This punk kid had to stand there and act in a capacity that few teenage kids could imagine today.

History records that Ed and Ruth hired the same punk kid each summer for six years. The kid just kept returning and doing what had to be done.

Folks are shocked to find out that over six years.....the punk kid saved seventy-seven people from drowning. The kid documented every single episode....like a mark on a pistol, or a bomb on a fighter. The kid was proud of the seventy-seven number. He was also proud that not a single person drowned over the six years at Rock River.

At the end of six years....the kid had some other things in life planned, and just had to leave.

The punk kid, Ronald Reagan, probably had the best training in his life at Rock River....but he'd never admit it. There are seventy-seven folks who probably went on in life....never really grasping what happened to them on that day or why they got dragged out of the water by the punk kid.

It would have been curious to ask Ronald Reagan which he appreciated more....the eight years in Washington, or the six at Rock River. The best we can say....is that something mythical and magical occurred in Rock River.....for their benefit, Reagan's benefit, and ours.