Something More Comfortable

Every morning that I have gone into the office at the middle school, there has been one or two or three students standing at the front desk talking to the secretary. The secretary says softly, and so kindly, “I’m sorry, but you can’t wear sleeveless, Honey,” or “Your shorts are higher than two inches above the knee.”

This morning, the secretary was explaining to a very pretty young lass, “I don’t… think… you’re allowed to wear a shirt that says ‘I love to fart’…Let me check…” (Turning to the guidance counselor who was passing through) “Are they allowed to wear a shirt that says, ‘I love to fart?’”

“NO! They CAN-NOT wear a shirt that says that!” answered the guidance counselor.

“I’m sorry, Honey. Is there someone who can pick you up or bring you a change of clothes?”

And the girl stood there doe-eyed and confused. It was apparently the first she’d heard of these codes of dress, and her mother had already gone to work.

“I’ll get you a t-shirt from the lost and found.”

A lost and found t-shirt may be the worst possible consequence, I’m thinking, for those with a mind towards fashion.


I drove away worrying about a t-shirt I picked up recently for the boys to wear that had a picture of a sushi on it with the words “That’s just how I roll.” One of them just discovered that he actually really likes sushi, but now I’m wondering if the shirt really is just about sushi rolls? Can a sushi shirt even be made these days without a troublesome subtext?

In any case, I share because some people might feel comforted that there is yet a standard of decency in the world that has not been crushed, that at a public school in a small town in Indiana there are students going home every single day to change into something more appropriate.

“Go On”: Interview with Jack Baumgartner, Part III
“Hunger”: Interview with Jack Baumgartner, Part IV
Litany of Days
Disarming my Accuser, with the Sacrament of Confession
About Elizabeth Duffy

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