What Becomes a Legend Most

A modest proposal for commercializing S.F. neighborhoods.

Got milk? At least in Biggs, Calif., the answer is no. At the end of October, the mayor of Biggs, north of Sacramento, received a letter from the California Milk Processor Board, offering to make a "meaningful contribution" in exchange for renaming the town after the company's popular commercial slogan. The residents of Biggs briefly considered the name change -- and even discussed building a "Got Milk?" museum -- until coming to their senses last week.

Biggs may have narrowly avoided becoming a running joke, but the town's dilemma still begs the question: Is this a one-time fluke or a chilling omen of things to come? Just because advertisers failed to buy one California town doesn't mean they'll give up. It may be only a matter of time before they move south, inundating Bay Area cities with offers to buy their identities. And who knows? Our city officials may take them seriously. With San Francisco still smarting from losing the Olympics and the World Series, we might not be so quick to turn down an opportunity for some national exposure.

If there's no way to avoid the commercialization of S.F., we might as well help the adsters get it right. After careful deliberation, we'd like to make a few recommendations (see chart at top) to potential sponsors. -- Eric Spitznagel

Cool for a Day

We went by ourself to the school dance last week, too shy to invite anyone and figuring everybody would just laugh at us if we did. Anyone who was anyone was going to be there: sixth-graders, seventh-graders, even eighth-graders. We were nervous because we don't dance too well and feared that the ladies would make fun of us.

Luckily, there wasn't much mingling between girls and boys, or much dancing for that matter. The only dance most of the guys did was the "shirt dance," where you tug on the front of your shirt to the beat. We looked pretty cool doing that. So cool, in fact, that nobody danced next to us because they were worried that we would outshine them.

The dance was in the gym and only cost $2.50 if you had your student ID, so that was nice, but you had to pay for punch and snacks, which sucked. The crappiest part was that the dance was held right after school, so it wasn't dark at all. The lights were even on! The principal must think that junior high kids are babies.

The music was OK, we suppose. They played the new Slim Shady song, and the new Kylie Minogue song, but they also played all this weird stuff from other decades, like "Let Me Clear My Throat" and "California Knows How to Party."

The best part was the break dancing competition, where the b-boys and -girls showed off their stuff. This one guy totally got air. It really took us back to 1984.

Well, by now we should probably admit the truth, if you haven't guessed it already. We're not actually in junior high; we graduated long ago. The dance was at a Richmond District junior high school where we teach in the after-school program, and we were a chaperone. But we still like to think that a lot of the kids thought we were cool, that we were "down."

If nothing else, we were the coolest chaperone there, much cooler than Mr. Yang, somebody's dad who just stood in the corner the whole time and didn't even shirt-dance. Or Mr. Parker, who wore a blue wig to try to be hip but just looked silly.

The last song of the night, er, afternoon, was "Dilemma" by Nelly and Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child, and we have to say we were a little sad to have no one to slow dance with. We thought another chaperone was going to ask us once, but she just wanted to know where this other guy named David was. We said we had no idea, even though we knew he was downstairs getting some punch.

It wasn't so bad, though. After all, only three couples out of 300 people danced, and "Dilemma" really has too much of a backbeat for proper slow dancing.

If it had been one of the cool slow songs from back in our day, like "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison, or "Time for Change" by Mötley Crüe, then it would have been something to be sad about. The Nellies and Destiny's Children come and go, but Bret Michaels will live on forever.

In our heart, anyway. -- Ben Westhoff

 
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