Monday, December 11, 2006

Beetle Bailey dollars 

Semester is winding down, last classes today, so people seem a little goofy. I've been known to slip in class and use the occasional curse word. Teaching the first-year students this fall I decided to try to control my behavior. We created a fund into which a dollar would go from my pocket for each bad word used. By the third week of class I was in double digits, and $16 by the end of September. It was monumentally embarrassing to see the number on the blackboard each lecture.

I ended the semester today. Bad word fund = $21. The students agreed to cookies or bagels for the class with the money. You know they had visions of huge pizza party dancing in their heads in early fall. Incentives matter.

So at prices much lower than the FCC charges, I can change my frackin' behavior. Scott Adams thinks I should change at home, too.

One thing that has always puzzled me is why we don�t see special treatment facilities to help the children who are victims of cursing. We have special hospitals for all sorts of other diseases and afflictions, but no money goes into helping the children who accidentally watch HBO.

You might wonder how dangerous it is to expose children to curse words. I have never seen a scientific study on this topic but it�s easy to calculate the danger. For example, parents let children ride bicycles on the street. But parents do not allow children to hear vulgar words. Therefore we can deduce that cursing is more dangerous than being hit by a car.

Had they such facilities, my kids would have their own wing. I don't serve 'em beer like some guys do, but I make sure their vocabulary is fully stocked.

I sense a dollar jar going into my kitchen as I type this.