Diffusing Violence in Schools
On Sunday, Kate and I went to the Miss Manhattan Scholarship Competition to see my co-worker Alice Bugman compete. I hadn’t realized that “Scholarship Competition” is post-nineties code for “Beauty Pageant.” Anyhow, this was the real beauty pageant deal, you betcha! Nineteen contestants donned swimsuits, sang, performed gymnastics, answered questions drawn out of a crystal bowl, and forgot the words to “What I Did for Love.”
In the program, each contestant listed a platform, which they would vigorously promote if chosen Miss Manhattan. Marcia Velez Soto (number 19) chose “Preventing and Diffusing Violence In Schools.” God knows that school violence needs to be diffused in our country. I can just see Marcia in her tiara, spreading violence from high-aggression schools to those needing more, so that the violence could be equally divided among all student populations. Perhaps she, herself, would diffuse the violence, smacking fourth-graders on the head with a Swarovski crystal-studded sceptre.
Alice was the fourth runner-up in the pageant (I’m not sure whether the fact that, in the interview, she actually ventured a strong opinion, backed up with facts.) She won most popular contestant, though; in the lobby, there were little metallic bags with each contestant’s name on them. Each contestant’s friends buys tickets for a dollar, then puts the tickets in their contestant’s bag. The contestant with the most ticket wins that amount. Ha ha ha, the other contestants were ballerinas, gymnasts, and teachers — pursuits in life that result in shallow-pocketed friends.
Alice had PROGRAMMER friends, NEW MEDIA friends, BIG NEW YORK INTERACTIVE AGENCY friends, and we stuffed that bag like the glossy fat cats we are. When she was announced the winner, we all rose to our feet and shook our fists in the air: “WHAT dot-com downturn? WHAT recession? BOW to us, ye aspiring actresses and struggling PR executives! BOW to us, for we are WEALTH INCARNATE!”
Okay, so we put ten bucks each in the bag, but just for a moment we all felt like
Beauty Pageant Scholarship Competition Queens.