Anybody who thinks this is a classless society just ought to follow Tie Rod down to the courthouse, where he went one night to attend traffic school, after being nabbed for driving like the Roadrunner would with the Coyote after him. He looked forward to going out for basketball in Traffic School.
The courthouse was one of those new monstrosities built because of some public officials' edifice complex, one in which you need a GPS to find your way around. One door was marked "Litigation Area #1." Tie Rod remembers when they called them courtrooms.
So he went in another, thinking he was in the right place, but it turned out to be shoplifting class, which he realized when the instructor was showing students how to sew a pocket big enough to hold a flat screen into an overcoat, and how to put expensive stuff down inside a box of something cheap.
The class had a segment about how to get those magnetic devices off a blouse, and another on the proper method to get a refund in cash on something you charged on credit and have no intention of paying for. Finally, there was instruction on what to wear and what kind of face to put on when they make you sit in front of the courthouse and hold a sign announcing that you are a thief.
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So Tie Rod left in search of his class and went down the hall into another room, again the wrong one. Here they were doing an anger management class, going over the merits of bullying. It wasn't hard to tell this as everybody in the room was clinching their fists, counting to 10 under their breaths, seething.
During the break, the classmates whispered in the hall the particulars of how so-and-so deserved the whipping they got and how much fun it was and how empowering it is to run your fist through some drywall or shoot up the tires on her new boyfriend's car.
Next room, next class.
Parenting class, perhaps the most practical of all. The instructor had written the two main rules of parenting on the blackboard.
No. 1: Whup 'em if they sass. No. 2: A child can marry more money in five minutes than he or she can make in their lifetime.
Tie Rod thinks that the main problem with parenting now is excess self-esteem implanted in children who haven't yet earned any. When he was a boy you had to work for praise and so it meant something.
Mainly, parenting class is a way for people in a divorce to get to meet somebody else and increase their odds of another failed marriage. Tie Rod recently sent his name in to one of those services which link people together for mingling and it was very awkward when the service gave him the phone number of his present wife and charged him $500 for it.
Fourth door on the left was alcohol education class, popularly called drunk-driving school. In there you are taught that a sniff of Bud Lite will make you drive like Mr. Magoo and you end up being caught by a stern cop who makes you do stuff that nobody sober can do either.
They do not mention that cops end up being alcoholics at a higher rate than about anybody else, and that is from all that peeing in a cup they have to witness.
At last, traffic school, the closest thing in the courthouse to being in the second grade or the military. You see car-crash pictures and learn to stop at a stop sign even when you can see in all four directions that nobody is coming. That is enough to get you into anger management.
Larry Wesber is a Pikeville attorney. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.