MAD DOG: Full Moons and Mascots

I'm dreading the impending full moon. But then, I do that every month. It's not that I'm a superstitious person -- sure, I'll go a block out of my way to avoid walking under a ladder, I throw salt over my shoulder if I spill some on anything other than my French fries, and I won't go to a Chris Farley movie for fear that I'll be bored to death -- but this is different. Every time a full moon hits, people get weird. I know what you're going to say, there's no scientific proof to back this up. That's true. You'd think someone somewhere would have gathered a large, statistically significant group and given them the Sea of Tranquillity Standardized Ineptitude Test before, during, and after a full moon to see just how whacked out they truly get. In an empirical sort of way, of course. Why this hasn't been done is beyond me. I'm sure if this interests you there's government grant money to be had. After all, this is an administration that would love to be able to use "It was a full moon” as an excuse for accepting campaign money from the Chinese when it turns out Bob Dole would have given them a much lower interest rate. Not to mention that "The moon made me moon her” would make for a lovely defense in the Paula Jones case.Policemen know about full moon wackiness. So do cab drivers and nurses, especially psychiatric nurses. I have a friend who works that specialty in a hospital and she always comments on how bizarre her patients act during a full moon. Not that she ever explains how she can tell the difference. I can't help but wonder if all this is caused by physiological changes, like increased blood pressure in the brain that rises like the tide. Or maybe it's psychological, like a primal fear evoked by how much the "face” on the full moon looks like Roseanne when she still had a last name. And a TV show. Either way people under this lunar influence just aren't right. They get goofy, cranky, and do things they wouldn't ordinarily do without feeling the slightest bit remorseful or apologetic. Is it just a coincidence that the full moon and a woman's period both occur every 28 days?If you don't believe in this full moon phenomenon then I suspect you're just not paying attention. Either that or you're one of those people who walk around oblivious to drivers deliberately barreling down the wrong side of the road, people holding up the supermarket line by arguing with the checker about whether plastic or paper bags are better for lining their cat box (even though Martha Stewart gave an environmental thumbs-up to paper), and colleges which hold school elections to decide whether to dump a lumberjack as their school mascot in favor of a marbled murrelet, which for those of you who are tweety-impaired, happens to be a bird.This is actually happening at Humboldt State University, a school in California that should be more concerned about their name than their mascot. After all, even a fifth-year high school student knows that Humboldt isn't a state. Apparently the school has been using Jack the lumberjack as their school mascot since 1936. As lumberjacks often are, Jack is pictured as a large white male who wears suspenders and carries an ax, looking very much like the little-known seventh member of the Village People. A group of students, led by the president of the student body, is trying to impeach Jack, claiming he's racist, sexist, and insensitive to the environment. Now before you write this off as your basic exercise in political correctness -- like whether you should open a door for a spotted owl or pay for a snail darter's dinner -- keep in mind that this is the same school that tried to get rid of the lumberjack four years ago in favor of Bigfoot. Really!In place of the existing white affront to mascothood everywhere, the students behind this coup think the school should be represented by a small seabird. This would be funny if it wasn't so quintessentially 90's. Now here's a school emblem that will instill pride in the student body while it strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents: the Mighty Marbled Murrelets!Hopefully as the full moon wanes these students will come to their senses and go back to worrying about the important things in life, like who's buying the keg today and can they finish it before tomorrow morning's final organic chem exam. The scary part is that in another 28 days the moon will be back in full lunar force. In the meantime I think I'll go back to driving on the right side of the street.

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