Yes, kids, you'll have to suffer through the long hours of classes caffeine-free -- unless you bring your own supply of Jolt gum. Then, after class, step right up to our machines, slip in your coins, and partake of the semi-forbidden substance.
And don't you think the makers of Jolt love this story? Thanks for reminding all the kids about our little product, and thanks for forcing each student to buy his own. And thanks for glamorizing some dumb gum into an exciting drug-like product. That meshes nicely with our ad campaign and spikes it with messages we dare not say directly.
IN THE COMMENTS: Lotsa comments, so go in there and read. I'm just going to front page a long comment I made along the way:
Thanks for the link to the old "Coffee Achievers" commercials. That ad campaign dates back to a time when coffee drinking was dying out, and they really thought the new generations would only drink soda. I remember thinking the commercials were a pathetic attempt to bring back the past! I'm laughing as I type this in a café with a $3.50 coffee drink next to the laptop. I think back then people also thought written communication would die out, and the new generations would rely solely on images and the spoken word. But here we are hopelessly immersed in coffee and the written word.
Anyway, I'd like to say that I don't think all the news stories like this gum one imply that schools are full of folks who do things like this. It wouldn't be news if it were so common. That a dinky story like this gets reported proves it's anomalous. And I think a lot of the teachers themselves oppose the petty rules. I note that I'm a teacher, and I'm making fun of stuff like this.
As [one commenter observed], the principal is probably concerned about lawsuits. But the principal is probably also concerned with the way Jolt gum mimics drugs. I've seen kids drink Jolt cola and then act as if they are totally high. It's disturbing to adults to see that, but the trick is to find the right response. It's not obvious what it is.
I think opposing all gum and soda in the school -- during and after hours -- would be best. Kids have forgotten how to drink water. When I was a kid, in school, if you were thirsty, you got a drink from the water fountain. There was nothing else, except at lunch, and at lunch, there was only one drink: milk.
I'm just going to guess that the biggest cause of the obesity problem in America is soda. Years ago, a soda was a treat, and the bottles were 6 1/2 ounces. You were lucky if you got even one of those things a day.
I'm a cranky old person!
As I write this, the song playing in the café is -- I'm not kidding -- Bob Dylan's "4th Time Around," with the lines about gum:
I stood there and hummed,
I tapped on her drum and asked her how come.
And she buttoned her boot,
And straightened her suit,
Then she said, "Don't get cute."
So I forced my hands in my pockets
And felt with my thumbs,
And gallantly handed her
My very last piece of gum.
She threw me outside,
I stood in the dirt where ev'ryone walked.
And after finding I'd
Forgotten my shirt,
I went back and knocked.
I waited in the hallway, she went to get it,
And I tried to make sense
Out of that picture of you in your wheelchair
That leaned up against . . .
Her Jamaican rum
And when she did come, I asked her for some.
She said, "No, dear."
I said, "Your words aren't clear,
You'd better spit out your gum."