It’s Tuesday. Time for the anonymous mailbag to rescue you from your work or school doldrums and solve all the problems in the world.
As always, you can email me your questions, anonymity guaranteed, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Okay, here we go with the anonymous mailbag:
“My brother and his fiancee are planning to get married sometime this year (yay!!). He and I are the diehard Florida fans of the family- it was no coincidence seven years ago I had my bachelorette and got married on Florida bye weeks. He is trying to align his wedding with the Florida-LSU game: wedding Friday in New Orleans and then Saturday party bus over for the game. Guessing what weekend the Florida LSU game will be has to happen sooner rather than later thanks to all the corona wedding reschedules. What are your thoughts on SEC schedule release and the odds LSU-UF will be scheduled for the weekend of October 16? (Bonus points if SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey guest answers this question).”
First, this sounds like an absolutely awesome wedding and, potentially, the greatest possible fall wedding.
Seriously, I would love this if I were attending. A Friday New Orleans wedding followed by a Saturday bacchanalia in Baton Rouge for Florida-LSU, the year after COVID is over? This is phenomenal. Can you imagine how much wilder all the tailgate scenes will be after everyone has been cooped up for a year and not able to have their usual parties?
It’s going to be pure mayhem on every SEC campus this coming fall.
Commissioner Sankey is going to be on OutKick tomorrow morning, so I will ask him for you, but I doubt he’s going to be able to tell you the official date yet. Which is why I think your mid-October guess is as good as mine.
I’m not a wedding expert, but can’t you reserve multiple days in October and then pay a fee to drop the dates you don’t need when the schedule is officially released? That’s what I’d do. Because your brother’s plan is so great, it would stink to miss the Florida-LSU game by one week.
“As a high school teacher and basketball coach, I have to say I am thoroughly embarrassed by not only my own school district’s behavior, but many school districts around the country. I sit in meetings at least once a month and listen to other teachers express how much we need to be creating ‘equity’ for specifically students of color, but generally speaking our students that are not financially well off. We have been remote since March, and the district spent an insane amount of money on optional saliva screening that claims it helps detect and slow the spread of COVID. Even with taking this measure teachers and our union are fighting going back to school, but continue to lecture everyone about equity.
Do you think we will see a huge growth in the enrollment of private schools? After the behavior of school boards and unions I have a feeling many families that can afford private school will go that route. Kids need school and kids need sports. Illinois has failed all kids this school year and as a member of the education profession, I am embarrassed. Even as a public school teacher, I am starting to think that private school is the better option.”
Families with the resources to afford private school have flooded private schools this fall and spring. Their enrollment is already booming.
I have one kid in Nashville private school and my two youngest kids are in Williamson County — the county directly south of Nashville — public schools, and I’m beyond thankful that all three of my kids have been attending in-person schools all fall and now for the start of the spring semester as well. I’m also incredibly thankful for all the teachers and administrators in Williamson County who have been teaching the kids in person since August. Many teachers, even though they don’t get the media attention, want to be back in the classroom and know how important being there is.
The problem with your private school solution is most parents don’t have the resources to afford private schools, and most parents also don’t have the ability to suddenly move to a new school district. And even if you can afford private school for one kid, even fewer families can afford private school for multiple kids. And then how do you decide which kid gets the private school option and can go in person and which one has to stay in public school and attend remotely?
Allowing more public school competition — through parents being allocated money for charter schools, for instance — would theoretically provide a more market-based dynamic to public schools, but the concern there is for the kids whose parents don’t give them support. These kids still get left behind because the number one most important detail for child educational success remains parental engagement. The more parents care, the better students perform. But parental engagement is also often a reflection of income, since richer parents have more time and resources to spend on their kids than poorer parents. So I’m not sure what the solution here is, honestly.
It’s just incredibly unfortunate that the majority of our teachers unions and school boards have put kids in this position. There’s no scientific basis whatsoever for schools to remain closed anywhere. Zero! It’s infuriating to me. Especially since Democrats have claimed they are the party of science, and the media seems to be carrying the water for them on that claim.
Well, if you’re the party of science, why are you keeping schools closed? The science doesn’t support it. At all. I think governors and mayors need to tell teachers they get half pay if they are working remotely and full pay if they return to schools. Sure, there would be lawsuits, but I think the general public, in most places, is fed up with schools being shut down, and they’d support politicians making these decisions. Given that remote learning is half as effective, at best, why should teachers receive full pay for half the value of their work?
For me, personally, my disgust with the way my hometown of Nashville has responded to COVID has made it so I’m not sure I’ll ever live in Metro-Nashville again for the rest of my life. Now I own several commercial properties in the city, so they’ll still be making some money from me for property taxes, but I don’t think I’ll ever buy a residence in the county again. I suspect there are many parents like me. The long range impact of Nashville’s poor leadership is likely to be a massive decrease in tax dollars over the coming decades.
In fact, if we ever move again, I might go so far as to buy a property just across the county line to ensure my family is close to downtown so we can easily get back and forth, but doesn’t have to be subjected to the leadership of downtown Nashville. That’s how furious I am with the city of Nashville’s response to COVID in general and with their decisions on schools in particular.
I can’t even imagine how angry I’d be if my two elementary school kids had been out of in-person school since March, and kids in private schools and just across the county line were all attending school in person. That fury would increase immeasurably if my family didn’t have the resources to move and was stuck in an inferior learning environment because of disastrous political leadership and cowardice.
And that’s the biggest issue here to me. I don’t understand how people who claim to care so much about equity can be responsible for the most inequitable outcome of our lives. The kids whose parents can afford private school or can afford to live in richer school districts, which allow in person schooling, are gaining a monstrous educational advantage over the kids who are having to learn remotely. That year’s difference in educational instruction will be almost impossible to overcome for less fortunate kids in the years ahead.
I’m fortunate to have the resources to provide for my kids now, but I was a Metro-Nashville public school kid from grades K-12 growing up. I worked hard at my public school to get a college scholarship and knocked out a year’s college costs with AP classes I took in high school. How can you do all that if you’re stuck at home without reliable internet or computers?
We didn’t have a computer — or the internet — at my house when I was in high school. I didn’t get my first computer until I’d graduated from college. I used the computer labs — or a friend’s computer — for all the online work I needed to do in college. We weren’t technologically advanced in the Travis household. My parents refused to throw anything away, so we even still had rotary telephones. (You had to put your finger in the number hole and actually rotate the number around as opposed to just pushing a button, for those of you who don’t even know what this means.)
I’m not claiming to be some disadvantaged kid — we were squarely middle class — but it is hard for me to see all these Nashville kids forced to learn remotely and not think about how incredibly frustrated I would have been if that were me in this same situation.
It’s just shameful leadership and decision making.
Which is why I think schools still not being open for in-person learning is the worst failure of American public policy since Vietnam.
“I work in Sales Support. Most sales folks toss a gift card at us during the holidays. We work in teams. A couple of sales folks have tossed a gift card to others on my team but not me. Two years ago I got a gift card, last year I didn’t. I chalked last year up to the fact that I moved just before Christmas so figured it got lost in the mail or went to the wrong address.
This year I got stiffed again. How does one politely ask what’s up? Seems rather cheap to hookup some on the team but not others.”
The simplest answer would be they like your co-workers more than they like you.
Instead of worrying about a gift card, I’d worry about why my co-workers are more well liked than you are by the people you work with.
Regardless, complaining about not getting a gift card is a pussy move that will actually make you even less likely to get a gift card going forward. So I think you should keep your mouth shut about this and work harder at your job.
Plus, you’re an adult. If there’s something you want to buy that you can’t afford, that’s your issue, not anyone else’s. Take individual responsibility and ownership for your own life, and you’ll find yourself much more successful. And wasting much less time emailing strangers about the gift card you didn’t get for Christmas.
“I live in an upscale neighborhood with a board of trustees and apparently, a gaggle of entitled snowflakes. I recently got an email from the president of the trustees saying that several neighbors were complaining about my Trump flag and they felt it was ‘offensive given the events of last week.’ He’s a good dude and was just doing his job so I politely told him that it absolutely made my day that I offended the snowflakes with my flag and that it’s not coming down. In fact, I’ll be shopping for a larger one.
The funny thing is that there is a Biden sign about six houses down from me with the guy flying the American flag upside down as a protest against Trump which I have no problem with. I’m friends with the guy. I was also going to take the flag down on the 20th when Biden is sworn in and replace it with my Gadsden/Tea Party flag. Now the Trump flag stays.
My question is can the neighborhood HOA agreement override the US Constitution and the First Amendment?”
I can’t speak to your homeowner’s association specifically because I haven’t read the bylaws, but when you buy your home, you agree to be bound by the homeowner’s association rules. Those rules might conflict with your other rights. In theory, for instance, you might have strongly held political beliefs that landscaping is bad for the natural environment and so oppose doing anything with your lawn other than natural growth. But if you don’t cut your grass or trim your hedges for a year, you better believe the homeowner’s association is going to come down on you in a big way. They’ll fine you, even if you argue that your lawn is a political statement.
Which flags are allowed to fly in a homeowner’s association is actually a fascinating question, however.
I’ve thought about this quite a bit in my own neighborhood because most flags are fairly innocuous. They are either American flags, state flags, or flags celebrating a university. But what would happen if someone started flying a Confederate flag and there was a complaint about that choice?
I honestly don’t know.
Since we live near a historic Civil War battlefield in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, someone in my neighborhood could argue the Confederate flag is a historical honorarium as opposed to a modern day political statement. So what would the outcome be there if eventually a lawsuit was filed?
I don’t know.
What if when the Iraq War had been going on, you’d had an Iraqi neighbor and he’d flown the Iraqi flag? What if during the Mexico wall debate your Mexican neighbor had started flying a Mexican flag outside his house?
I’ve even joked with my wife that I want to put an OutKick flag outside our house — not because I actually want to do it — but just because it would mortify her to come home one day and see a gigantic OutKick flag flapping in the breeze outside our house. But what if one of my neighbors hated OutKick and was offended by our flag?
You can see my point, right? Once you allow flags, who gets to decide which flags are permissible and which are impermissible?
I would say political candidate flags are a relatively new addition to the flag universe simply because I don’t remember that many flags supporting Clinton, Bush or Obama. But Trump flags have been everywhere. So if this is going to become a trend, then how does the neighborhood association decide which political candidate flags are acceptable and which are unacceptable?
At this point, I’d just leave your flag up and and see what they attempt to do. You can argue that Trump might run again in 2024 and you continue to support him as a presidential candidate going forward.
After all, if they’re going to allow American flags to be flown upside down on Biden supporting houses, I don’t know how they can mandate you take your Trump flag down.
So how does this end?
Probably like most things in all houses. Your wife will decide what you can and can’t do with the flag.
“So my wife just told me that she really wants another baby. She struggles with depression, and her therapist thinks that her desire for another child is contributing to it. Neither of us wanted children when we got married 7 years ago, and our current 3-year-old daughter was a surprise. Not once did we ever agree to have multiple children if we did end up having an accident.
We love our child very much, but I hated the newborn-2 year old phase and all the sacrifices that were required. I have no desire to go through it again. I get the impression that my wife is basing her desire for another child mostly on emotion, just the desire of having a little baby to hold in her arms and the desire to be pregnant again and breastfeed. Plus, 2 of her cousins and one of her friends are currently pregnant.
She feels that she will resent me if she can’t have another baby, and I feel like I will resent her for forcing me to to have another one. Her therapist suggested couple’s counseling with a different therapist, but I feel like she thinks that the therapist will change my mind. I fully admit that maybe I’m being selfish, but I strongly do not want another child, and I never expected my wife to want another one. In my opinion, both positions are selfish, but only my position does not come with extra financial burden and less time, freedom and peace of mind.
We’ve already talked and shared our feelings, but we’re not going to agree on this. We have a very good and happy relationship otherwise. Any thoughts on how to handle this?”
I mean, this is one of those situations that doesn’t allow a compromise.
Either she’s going to get her way and you have another child or you are going to get your way and you aren’t going to have another child. Whichever one of you doesn’t get your way will resent the other person for getting their way.
I wish I had a solution here, but I really don’t think there is one. If you’re both 100% certain in your position, then there isn’t a resolution that’s going to make you both happy.
One possibility, and it isn’t necessarily a good one because it just forestalls the issue for now, is you both agree to wait a couple of years and discuss things anew when your current daughter is old enough for school. Once your oldest daughter is in kindergarten, then both of you may have different perspectives than you do right now. Maybe your wife will realize with a kid in school she doesn’t want to go through raising another child. Maybe you will feel better about having another child once your oldest is in school and requires less work.
I’m not sure either of those outcomes are likely, but, again, at least it ends the debate for the present moment.
Unless you’re willing, however, to get divorced, I think she’s ultimately going to get her wish. Because it’s not like you’re going to stop sleeping with her and it has been my experience that most women end up making decisions about the number of children a family has. Which, given the fact that they bear the brunt of the parental obligations when it comes to childbearing, makes complete sense.
If, however, you’re 100% certain you don’t want any more children you could take this dispute to the next level and go get a vasectomy — your body, your choice, right? — but that feels tantamount to starting nuclear war in the household.
She might divorce you for this move.
Ultimately I think you’re likely to lose this battle in the long run, but I think the best option for you right now is to try and delay the decision for a couple of years and hope she changes her mind during this time period. Otherwise, short of divorce or your wife changing her mind, I don’t think you’re going to be able to avoid having a second child.
Thanks for all of your OutKick support. As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to email@example.com