Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 4

From the Editor...
Then and Now

items each day: soft pretzels, cookies, ice cream and the
like, in addition to a full hot lunch. I would often brown
bag it, and supplement my nutritional needs accordingly.
So one day, the lunch lady explained that there were no
snacks for sale that day. What?, Why? Because the "C"
lunch has misbehaved the prior day. I got all fired up and
was ranting about the unfairness of it all to my lunch
buddies, one of whom duly responded to the effect of:
"Well, why don't you do something about it?"

I saw guns and sharp
swords in the hands of
young children
And it's a hard, and it's a
hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard
rain's a-gonna fall

So I did. There was no social media, and I was certainly
far from being an alpha leader in the school. But I did
have access to the office ditto machine. (Sorry post baby
boomers, you're just gonna have to google this one.)
So I made up a ditto suggesting a lunch boycott for the
following Monday, and surreptitiously ran off several
dozen copies. The next day, I quietly placed a few on
each lunch table, and even slid a few under the door to
the teacher's lounge. As fate would have it, as I sat down
to eat with my friends (with my heart slightly pounding),
the class clown grabbed the microphone to the cafeteria
P.A. system and talked up the lunch boycott. Everyone
got fairly riled up while Howard Balaban (his real name)
commanded the room, or at least until a lunch proctor
turned off the P.A. and grabbed back the microphone.

(Bob Dylan, 1963)

Growing up, I always felt that I was born ten years too
late. I should have been at Woodstock. Or maybe in San
Francisco for the Summer of Love. I should have been
protesting the Vietnam war on my college campus. Alas,
the first prime time war was (thankfully) essentially over
before my thirteenth birthday.
But I did have a rebellious streak. The generation gap was
very real. Surely, the youth had better ideas than their
parents or teachers. Our ideas and ideals would ultimately
prevail. "Don't trust anyone over 30" made perfect sense
to me. But the 1970s were not the 1960s. Other than
perhaps the rise of disco music, the relative prosperity and
peace of the "me" decade left little for rebellious youth to
get excited or upset about.

Over the weekend, I contemplated in equal measures
whether I was dismayed to have not received credit for the
possible boycott or relieved that someone else had become
the focal point. In any event, come lunchtime Monday,
there were brown bags as far as the eye could see! On a
day in which hot lunch sales typically exceeded 100, only
five lunches were sold! The school took a big hit and the
students' actions were noticed. The lunch boycott took
on a life of its own, and students (and some teachers?)
continued to brown bag it for the rest of the week. As a
result, Principal John Parker (his real name) scheduled an
assembly to discuss our concerns! That's right, thanks to me,
some 200 students got out of class on a Friday afternoon.
It became something of a gripe session, but never again
would sales of snack items be withheld as a punishment.

I got all fired up and was ranting
about the unfairness of it all to my
lunch buddies, one of whom duly
responded to the effect of: "Well, why
don't you do something about it?"
So I did.
I recall a protest gathering of sorts in college (although
Frisbees and hacky sacks were present) in response to the
recently enacted requirement that all males register with
the Selective Service System on their 18th birthday. We
chanted, "one, two, three, four, we won't fight Exxon's
war!" I formally registered as a conscientious objector and
years later watched the Gulf War on television.

This bit of comic relief makes for a lousy segue. I could
not be sadder with regard to the recent events at Marjory
Stoneham Douglas High School, or with the scourge of gun
violence generally, but I could not be prouder of the reaction
of so many of its students. According to the Washington
Post, since 1999, more than 187,000 students attending at
least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced

My own protest "career" had peaked a few years earlier
in the ninth grade with a lunch boycott I organized in my
Junior High School. Our cafeteria would sell a few snack


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Spring 2018

Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 1
Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 2
Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 3
Bucks Writs - Spring 2018 - 4
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