By NICK CHILES
Fifth graders at an Atlanta elementary school got some grown-up lessons on their way back from a field trip last week when a bus company mistakenly picked them up in party buses—complete with stripper poles, fog machine, sound system and even a VIP section.
The 130 students from Morningside Elementary in northeast Atlanta may not have known exactly what the shiny gold poles in the middle of bus were for, but their teachers and parents certainly did. And they want to know how in the hell a bus company could make such a huge error.
We don’t even need to get into the reasons for the mistake—something about the original company hired by the school needing a back-up to get the kids back to the school, but the back-up company not realizing they were picking up kids. (Leading me to wonder how that information was even necessary—why is your default bus, the one you send when you assume you’re picking up a random group of adults, a bus with stripper poles and fog machine? What if you’re going to get a group of church deacons, or even a group of real estate agents?) But all I could think about was Chris Rock’s famous line about the most important job of a dad was to make sure his daughter stayed off the stripper pole.
We all know how powerful is the force of subliminal messaging. We’ve heard all those stories about the ways marketing campaigns and advertisers fool us into craving their products. So what happens to the little girl who sits on that bus for two hours—the kids were on their way back from Camp Toccoa in the northeast Georgia mountains—staring at that stripper pole glistening and sparkling in front of her? She may even reach out to touch it, curious about how smooth and slippery it is. Deep in the recesses of her 11-year-old mind, that mental and tactile memory is lodged, embedded for the next eight or nine years. So if one day she comes upon hard times and finds her way into a real strip club, hoping to make a quick buck, I have one question: Can her dad file suit against the bus company? When does the statute of limitations end for such a thing? Because, if Chris Rock is to be believed, it’s all Dad’s fault when she walks through those club doors. That dad is going to need somewhere to point the finger. I vote for the bus company.
Oh yeah, one more thing: There is no crying in the VIP room.
1. Willow Smith & The Stripper Pole: Kids Will Be Kids—Even Will And Jada’s
2. A Dad’s Plea: Let Our Little Girls Stay Little for As Long As We Can
3. Stilettos and 10-Year-olds: A Dad Says, “Aw, Hell To the Nah!”