Michael Grant, bless his heart, is upset. There seems to be a lot of that going around lately. Unless you’ve been marooned on a deserted South Pacific island like Tom Hanks for the past several years, you may have noticed this trend. People are unhappy. Michael, bless his heart, is one of them.
Michael has a Ph.D. (Piled higher and Deeper); he teaches at Texas Tech University up in Lubbock, and he’s a whiner. Michael wrote a letter of complaint to Tech’s president, M. Juane Nellis, Ph.D., to gripe about the tagline under the signature on all M. Juane’s correspondence to his faculty. The tagline was what you would expect the president of Texas Tech to write on his letters, even if you’d spent the past several years with Tom Hanks and Wilson on an island. It said, “Go Texas Tech, and Guns Up!”
Well, Michael didn’t like that. He claimed, “The romantic ‘Wild West’ context of gun violence continues to cause great harm to a great number of individuals, especially children (Guns Up, kids!).”
Now, I have no idea how long Michael has been teaching at Tech, but I’m pretty sure the school slogan was already in use when his employment began. And since America is a free country, Michael wasn’t forced to take a job at Tech. If he didn’t like the slogan, he could have picked another school to work for—one that uses politically correct, adequately watered down, inoffensive, bland, meaningless slogans to cheer on their sports teams. Maybe stuff like “Hey, hey, take it away, but ask politely first!” and “Hit ‘em again, hit ‘em again, lightly and ineffectively!”
But no, Michael chose to teach at Tech, with its offensive cheer already in use, which seems to me to reduce the validity of his complaint by roughly 100 percent. If the Guns Up! thing had just been adopted, I wouldn’t classify Michael as a whiner. I’d call him a weak, milk toast pansy, but not a whiner. The thing is, that’s not all there is to the story.
Part of Michael’s letter said, “I find it quite embarrassing to admit that I earned two degrees from an institution that employs the offensive slogan [sic] ‘Guns Up!”
Yes. Two degrees. From Tech. And he’s embarrassed that Tech uses the Guns Up! thing. Michael evidently chose to matriculate at Tech, and then chose to get a graduate degree at Tech (I’m assuming the bachelor’s here, it might have been his master’s and doctorate), and then he chose to teach at Tech, all the while being ‘embarrassed’ by the Tech slogan. Wow.
Of course, I could be jumping to conclusions. Michael might just be the most obtuse, unobservant human in the history of history. He might have earned two degrees at Tech, and then taken a job at Tech without knowing about the Guns Up! thing. He might have just noticed it recently, and become offended. In which case he had a choice to quit or whine, and he chose to whine.
Now, lest you berate me, saying Michael could have earned his degrees prior to the Guns Up! thing, let me just say, that’s unlikely. Glenn Dippel, who graduated from Tech in 1961, took a job in Austin, and he started the Guns Up! symbol there, in 1971, to counter the Hook ‘Em Horns thing the UT folks do. And the Guns Up! spread to Tech pretty quickly, like immediately, and it’s been there ever since. That was 45 years ago.
Since Michael still teaches at Tech, we might reasonably assume he is less than 65 years old, so unless he received two degrees prior to his graduation from potty training, he probably began his undergraduate academic career at Tech AFTER the Guns Up! thing got there in 1971. (If I were the betting type, I’d be willing to bet that Michael even displayed his hands in the shape of pistols while he was a Tech student).
So, when M. Juane got Michael’s letter, he did the only sensible thing he could do. He wrote Michael back and said, “Well, Michael, Texas Tech finds it quite embarrassing to admit that you teach here. So you’re fired.”
I jest, of course. M. Juane, in typical spineless fashion, folded his tent and quit putting ‘Guns Up!’ on his letters. He started using ‘Wreck ‘Em! instead. This is how the evil disease of political correctness spreads.
So I’m going to do something I almost never do. I’m going to ask for your help. If you have a shred of backbone in your body, if you have the least vestige of decency, if you have any love at all for common sense, if you have an envelope and a stamp, please cut this column out and send it to Lawrence Schovanec, Ph.D., current president of Tech, and ask him to adopt the use of the ‘Guns Up!’ slogan on all his correspondence.
And send a copy to Michael Grant, Ph.D., whiner, and remind him that the only reason he has the freedom to complain is because of brave men with guns, who gave their lives so he could pitch a politically correct fit to let everyone know what a wimp he is. Bless his heart.
And in conclusion, Guns Up!
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who is thankful for the freedom to write a column that irritates people like Michael. Write to him at [email protected].