Suffer the Children 

Finally. Someone has stepped forward and said Enough! We’ve got to stop coddling the children of America. I read the headline in the afternoon paper and exclaimed aloud, Good for you, Mayor-For-Life Deedee!

CORRADINI HOPES TO WHIP U.S. KIDS INTO SHAPE WITH ’FITKIDS’ PROGRAM.

Our mayor’s program is her first action in her new job as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. (This Conference is different from LDS Conference, in that the Mayors of America have more wet T-shirt contests.) According to the article in the paper, Corradini has thought for a long time that our kids were in lousy shape. This group of American children is in the worst shape ever, she said.

Corradini certainly has what it takes to whip our kids back into shape, especially here in Utah, where according to a recent U.S. Census report, the median age is now down to nine years old. Just the other night, I was watching the news with a few dozen of my nephews and nieces, when Corradini came on and started talking tough about the butterfat content of Snelgrove’s ice cream. One of my nieces piped up and said, Hey, look, it’s Miss Hardcastle, our gym teacher! We were finally able to convince her, after threatening to leave her out of Family Home Evening, that it was really our mayor, and not her gym teacher.

But little LaMarva’s perception shows how effective our mayor will be whipping the kids of America into shape. Put a whistle around her neck, and she could make everyone from Sparky Mortimer to Frank Joklik do an hour of squats, crunches, and side-straddle-hops.

I must say I’m a bit surprised that the Olympic Movement is co-sponsoring Corradini’s program to whip our kids into shape. Up until now, the august gentlemen of the Olympic Movement have exalted our children into the very emblem of human achievement and perfection, and speak in such fervent tones about infusing our children with the Olympic Spirit that you’d think they were actually a front for NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association). One SLOC functionary was quoted as saying, The Olympic FitKids program will certainly reinforce our goal of bringing the Olympic experience to Utah children. And the U.S. Olympic Committee Executive director said, Future generations blah de blah of kids who are physically fit blah de blah pass along blah de blah to their kids blah de blah some day.

No one has ever said how, exactly, our kids will get the Olympic Spirit, but I know Frank has flirted with the idea of training toddlers to hold up the targets for the biathlon rifle shooting competition, and has also kicked around a plan to have 9- and 10-year-olds stand on the ski runs and pretend they were gates for the giant slalom competition. Those kids are just about the right size, Frank told me in his hideaway sauna near the Kennecott smelter. Furthermore, they would get a splendid opportunity for close contact with the Olympic athletes.

I think Frank, the lads at SLOC and Mayor-For-Life Corradini may have some secret plans to really involve the children of Utah in the Olympic Experience. A page of talking points has come into my possession. It’s been encoded in a Swedish dialect, but I enlisted the help of a returned missionary to make sense of the document. He believes it to be the words of the SLOC, as far as it is translated correctly.

Brother Ingemar gave me the following rough translation, leaving out those portions beyond his powers of revelation: We are much behind schedule in preparing [untranslatable] for the 2002 Trickery [translator’s note: the Swedish word can also carry the sense of Games]. The Duke of Holding [translators note: another possibility is Earl of Grabbing] will not be able to finish his Little Grand America Palace by time. Freeways farther and farther behind are falling. Unheavy trains will not be alive in time to travel through the Salt Pond Town. [Untranslatable] PR campaign necessary to enlist children in construction. To avoid unreasonable child labor restrictions, put it in dress of YouthFitness. Such as: Shoveling promotes eye-hand coordination. Jackhammer pounding builds upper-body strength. Walking steel beams on high-height Duke of Holding Hotel develops balance and agility. Pouring tar on roads helps concentration and endurance.

This seems like a workable plan to me. The only catch I can see is that, according to our mayor, teenage girls who are physically fit are less apt to have babies. This means no more Children of the Future, and without them, why even have the Olympics at all?

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