The Right Coast

February 25, 2004
Dear Sports Illustrated: Cancel My Vacation
By Gail Heriot

Yes, yes, I know that Belpre Middle School in Ohio badly overreached when it suspended sixth grader Justin Reyes for bringing Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue to school. The folks at Belpre must have beach sand for brains. But young Mr. Reyes has incredibly poor timing if he is looking to get sympathy from me. When I told my colleague Mike Kelly that I was going to the local shopping center this evening to buy a bathing suit (something I hadn't done for about a decade), he let me look at his copy of the offending magazine, presumably for inspiration. Now Professor Kelly is not a vicious man; he was genuinely trying to be helpful. But rather than derive inspiration, I was sent into a deep funk from which neither I nor the store clerks at Nordstrom's and Macy's have yet recovered. It seems like I tried on 500 tiny pieces of Lycra, and every one of them revealed some horrible flaw in my body of which I had not previously been aware. I was lucky to get out of there without bursting into tears. Right now, I am not sure whether mere suspension is a strong enough punishment for Mr. Reyes (or more appropriately for each and every person who had anything to do with the production of that rotten little magazine). How about a good old-fashioned execution?

Oh well, maybe I will feel better in the morning ...