Recreation Leadership, 2010
This little cutout with the flag was in the parking lot of an Episcopal church day school in Gwynned, Pennsylvania. (I was shooting pictures in the adjacent graveyard.) Presumably it alerts people driving in the parking lot to a place where children might be crossing. Or vice versa.
I couldn’t look at it, though, without remembering something from an old episode of the NPR radio program Car Talk. If you listen to the show you know that hosts and brothers Ray and Tom Magliozzi can be lovingly brutal with some of the people who call in, especially the no-nonsense types who have little humor and actually expect to get quick, practical advice. If they sense your weakness, the brothers will tie you in knots asking whether you’re Cathy with a C or a K, or whether your broken Volvo is green or gray. If you’re a Saab driver, lord help you.
You have to be careful when you call Car Talk. A few years ago a woman called in and had a question related to the fact that she had been using a toll bridge near Philadelphia for years in a way that enabled her to avoid paying the toll. I don’t remember the details of how she did it, only that she was feeling guilty and was wondering whether she should fess up and start paying the toll, and in doing so possibly draw attention to her past free crossings, or just keeping cheating.
Tom and Ray reacted by getting the bridge administrator on the phone. Everything came out fine. But you know the woman had to be squirming in her seat for at least a few minutes.
Anyway, with regard to the little man shown above, there was a caller one day who you just knew was a little too serious for the show. Probably some young guy who thought he was pretty cool. Only he wasn’t on to Tom and Ray’s humor.
As they often do, Tom and Ray asked the young man what he did for a living. He responded that he was about to finish college with a degree in Recreation Management.
This was just too much for Tom, or maybe it was Ray. After a few barely suppressed chuckles, they asked the caller, “What the heck is “recreation leadership”? And then, without missing a beat, Tom (or maybe Ray) blurted out, “Oh, I get it, you’re the guy that stands up and shouts ‘FORM A LINE HERE!’”
Maybe you had to be there. When I saw this little guy with the flag, I felt like I was.