This teenage girl, you see, was thinking of having her oversized ears pinned back against her head in a surgical procedure.
I saw her story on TV, and I don’t have a problem with what she wanted to do. My left ear is way bigger than my right one, the result of my having been a breach baby and the doctor reaching in with a pair of forceps to turn me in the proper direction.
He clamped down on my left ear and tugged, and it never did lie flat again. Hasn’t really caused me any major problems other than the fact that my glasses tilt to the right, which makes me look a bit goofy.
But the girl’s mom said she was considering having the surgery because her daughter was being bullied at school because she had big ears.
As for me, I think we’re carrying this bullying thing too far. Not so long ago, kids called other kids with big ears Dumbo or some other equally non-sensitive name. Hey, that’s what kids do. Always have.
Nowadays, that’s reason enough to call in the Politically Correct Police and put the girl on a 10-year program of psychotherapy.
I know, I know. This is not the first time I’ve ever mentioned this. And I do recognize the fact that bullying -- real bullying -- can be a problem.
But we’re kind of taking things to an extreme. One kid calls another a name on the playground, and we have an expulsion on our hands. What used to be teasing has become extreme bullying.
I’m sure children are more in touch with their inner selves than kids of a generation ago, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Kids should have a right to be kids, and if that involves figuring out how to handle getting insulted on the playground or standing up for themselves if a classmate shoves them…well, it probably won’t hurt them.
Some elementary schools now prohibit the game of “tag” during recess because, as one principal said, it creates “self-esteem issues” among the children who get tagged.
Same with dodgeball. It’s banned on some playgrounds because school administrators say those who get whacked with the ball feel bad about it.
One school banned hopscotch. Too competitive.
An expert pooh-poohed such policies, saying games are organized to have a winner and a loser. They’re competitive, just like life is competitive.
A Connecticut school outlawed touching among students, along with “horseplay.” Principals across the country thought that was a great idea, so they followed suit.
Heck, we don’t want kids getting the misplaced idea that life involves personal relationships, do we?
Some people have pointed out that this rise in extreme touchy-feely behavior coincides with an increase in what has been called the “I know my rights” generation:
“Don’t give me a failing grade in chemistry. I know my rights.”
“Don’t handcuff me just because you think I robbed a bank. I know my rights.”
Anyway, I’m kind of confused about all this. Like most people, I try to adjust with the times. We can’t do things now the same way we did them back in the 1950s, and nobody wants to be a throwback, advocating a way of life that can no longer exist.
But banning tag and dodgeball?
Lordy, lordy. What would Dr.Spock say?
(Glenn Tucker is a contributing editor for the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)