Thursday, May 1, 2003

The class clown


Awkward bid for attention

map

Doctor, I would like to ask your advice about a problem child.

"Is this your child?"

No. A neighbor's. But he's always around our house.

"Is he abusing animals, wetting the bed, setting fires. Because you know these things can indicate a very serious psychosis."

Not exactly. But he is has done some peculiar things with frogs and is very interested in fireworks.

"Is he violent?"

No. I think he's basically a good kid. But he uses terrible language in public. Really crude stuff. It's embarrassing. A lot of us in the neighborhood would like to figure out a way to get him to stop it before our kids pick it up.

Copycat crudity?

"My suggestion would be to just let him know in a calm and measured tone that his behavior is inappropriate. Often a child doesn't know."

Well, he's not exactly a child. More like an adolescent. And, so far, this approach hasn't worked. He just seems to get worse.

"What about his parents?

Oh, they have a bunch of kids, Doctor, and loads of money. They're gone a lot, and I don't think they've been paying much attention to him lately.

"You know, that could be the reason. Generally, this type of behavior is a bid for attention."

That makes sense. He has been deserted by a lot of his friends and, frankly, people are starting to make fun of him. I feel sorry for the kid. He used to be well liked. Kind of the class clown. Witty. Clever. Naughty but harmless.

"What, specifically, do you find objectionable?"

Doctor - and I hope I don't offend you - but I was driving down Interstate 75 when I saw white billboards with black letters: "Go --ck yourself. I think eventually, they'll add an R and an O. You know, 'Go rock yourself.' Meanwhile, it looks pretty awful.

"Is this the first time you have seen such an obvious and crude bid for attention?"

Once WEBN bought billboards with pictures of larger-than-life breasts and pregnant men and some guys with their pants around their ankles.

"It sounds as if this provocative behavior is escalating. Can you think of anything that might account for this?"

WEBN radio has been knocked off as the most popular rock station by its "sister" station WKFS-FM (KISS 107) in the winter Arbitron ratings, which are very important to their parents, Clear Channel. In fact, according to the Enquirer's John Kiesewetter, WEBN fell to a fifth-place tie with WKRC-AM (550). WLW-AM (700) was No. 1, followed by KISS, WRRM-FM (WARM 98.5) and WIZF-FM (The WIZ 100.9).

"Are you sure WEBN is the culprit in the matter of these billboards."

Well, I can't get anybody to admit it. But WEBN has a history.

"Perhaps they're ashamed."

Unlikely.

"Or it could conceivably be a copycat clown."

So, doctor, when we know for sure, and when advertising representatives call requesting money, when they want to play with our children, when they want to ride in our cars, we should ...

"Ignore them."

E-mail lpulfer@enquirer.com or phone 768-8393.




TOP STORIES
Airport security screeners to be cut
Fine Arts Fund exceeds $9.6M goal
1st case of SARS hits Tristate

IN THE TRISTATE
Man who tried to get help gets break
Proposal boosts religious groups
Sentinels: We'll take FOP place at table
Toddler survives 5-story plunge
Obituary Calvin Conliffe
ODOT announces plans to install radar speed-checkers outside Lytle Tunnel
Taft comes home to rally voters to pass school levy
Metro transit center tests $1 a day parking
90-year-old lawyer retiring after 65 years in court
Tristate A.M. Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
PULFER: The class clown
HOWARD: Some Good News

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
LeSourdsville may miss a season
Warren County service program rebuts mismanagement charges
Officials: Yes, we're planning for cuts
Growing Kings schools seek levy
Toddler found safe after 4-hour search
Church gathers food for Iraqis
Fla. man accused of selling OxyContin in Butler Co.
Union Twp. suspect faces new charges

OHIO
State sues computer sellers
Ohio military contractors brace for blitz of orders
Worries surround chemical disposal
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Fletcher candidacy before high court
Campbell Co. schools to start kindergarten fee
Despite budget, NKU's pushing on
A.J. Jolly Elem. principal demoted
Young family left to grieve
Kentucky News Briefs
Chandler champions home-grown businesses
Racing panel's purchases get look
New Covington rights ordinance could be catalyst
Kentucky obituaries