Outclassed

At first glance, the morning mail holds few surprises. Two spring seed catalogues. The April issue of American Assassin. Hefty bills from the fishmonger, the liquor store and our regular supplier of badminton birdies. There's a postcard from Elvis (vacationing in Grand Forks this week), a Republican flier recommending the extermination of welfare mothers, and another perfumed note from Princess Di. You know, all the usual stuff.

But what's this? From a large, plain brown envelope, we withdraw the 1996-97 course catalogue from the Dennis Rodman College of the Arts and Humanities (formerly D.R.'s School of Charm & Beauty), and the whole family can't help digging in, with keen appetite, as one. Junior's starting to look seriously at schools, but today those fat, glossy bulletins from Yale and Stanford and North to Alaska A&M will just have to wait. In a matter of minutes, Rodman's temple of learning shoots straight to the top of our boy's wish list.

Little wonder. Care to browse?
Introduction to Contemporary Diplomacy. Course No. 1177. Four credit hours. For students aspiring to careers in the foreign service, as nightclub bouncers or playing power forward in rural Latvia, this core-level course (personally developed by Dr. Rodman) stresses formulation of successful strategies for dealing with geopolitical crises--and for kicking the crap out of any upstart in a ref's shirt who has the gall to blow his whistle in the same building where you are. Diplomatic models from the seventeenth century to the present day will be examined, focusing on the social philosophies of George Steinbrenner, Deion Sanders and Jerry Jones. Specific topics will vary according to the preference of the instructor but may include: Diplomatic Rhetoric in the Post-Cold-War Era; Pros and Cons of Attacking the Gatorade Tank; NBA Official Ted Bernhardt: America's New Hitler; Why Angry Teammates Set Your Underwear on Fire That Time in Orlando. Prerequisites: None. Field trips (optional): Sept. 19-20--The Palace at Auburn Hills; Oct. 4-6--Sarajevo Airport. Instructor: Tonya Harding, U.S.F.S.A., Ph.D.

Comparative Urban Political Systems. Course No. 2248. Four credit hours. (Fall semester 1996 only). The College's signature course is taught by Dr. Rodman himself, based on his firsthand experiences with flagrant political oppression in the cities of Detroit, San Antonio, Chicago, Sioux Falls, Yakima and Resume Speed, Ohio, where he is currently serving as assistant basketball coach and boxing instructor for the Resume Speed Police Athletic League. Dr. Rodman's lectures will address a broad range of topics--personal freedom, personal liberty, the importance of individual (read: personal) game statistics, and the like--but they will all be tied to the course's dramatic underlying theme: "I am always right; the rest of the world can stick it in their cheap seats." Prerequisites: Four two-game suspensions (minimum); six ejections; three arrests. Field trip (mandatory): Sept. 24, 1996-November 31, 1999--Ohio State Correctional Facility, Middleburg, Ohio. Guest lecturers: Gary Payton, M.A., N.B.A.; Kermit Washington, W.B.A., W.B.C.

Principles of Hair Care. Course No. 3284. 256 credit hours. A popular holdover from the College's earlier incarnation as D.R.'s School of Charm & Beauty, the course grapples with the major philosophical branches of this challenging discipline--Blond, Flaming Red, Kelly Green and Polychrome. The first half of the semester is concerned with General History and Theory; the second half is devoted to detailed discussions of Length (during which students are divided into study groups of three), Shampoo Frequency (groups of four) and Late Twentieth Century Stylistics. Course participants are required to write a ten- to fifteen-page term paper, double-spaced, on one of the following topics: Rogaine and the Postmodern Sensibility; Dye Jobs and the Mind of the Infant; Why David Stern Is a Complete Asshole. Alternative topics (e.g., Why David Stern Should Take That Job as Baseball Commissioner) may be approved at the instructor's discretion. Prerequisite: Beards and Mustaches (course no. 2033). Field trips (mandatory): Oct. 2--Bobbie Jo's House of Curls (Downtown); Nov. 10--Bobbie Jo's House of Curls (East). Instructor: Dante Bichette, M.L.B., Ph.D.

Macroeconomics in the Age of Want. Course No. 4102. Four credit hours (six credit hours if course fee is paid in duplicate). In the main, students will examine the plight of professional athletes trying to scrape by on $2 or $3 million a year in the face of soaring cocaine prices, increasing threats of bogus paternity suits, unjust pro-league fine schedules and outrageous new laws requiring players to attend actual practices and games. This tragedy has grown epidemic in baseball, football and basketball, and as part of the coursework, students will work, part-time, at volunteer phone banks to raise much-needed relief funds for these beleaguered American heroes. Additional semester topics: Why David Stern Is a Complete Asshole (recitation of award-winning term papers); the Agony of Iron Mike Tyson; John Daly and Hulk Hogan: Two Profiles in Courage. Prerequisites: Introduction to Larceny (course no. 2044); Shoe Contracts (adjunct law course no. 666). Field trip (optional): Oct. 12-13--Banque Internationale, Bern, Switzerland. Note: This course requires a special materials fee: Make check (in the amount of $8,402.59) payable to "Dennis Rodman Relief Fund, Inc." This one-time charge is tax-deductible. Instructors: Dikembe Mutombo, B.S., N.B.A.; P. Barnum, Prof. Emeritus, Economics, Bigtop School of Business.

Basketball. Course No. 3434. Two credit hours. INACTIVE. Because the College has been de-emphasizing sports in recent years and Dr. Rodman has grown weary of the game itself, Basketball 3434 will not be offered in either semester of 1996-97--or in any term of the forseeable future. Hey, whatever. When you're involved with subjects as vital as Macroeconomics in the Age of Want (see above) or Effective Public Relations (see page 81 of this catalogue), there's not much time for fun and games. In past semesters, however, participating students were free to enjoy themselves to their hearts' content. No more. Prerequisite: None. Field trip: None. Instructor: None.

Advanced Disruptive Ethics. Course No. 4588X. Four credit hours. Instructor-approved seniors and graduate students only. Enrollees in the College's most challenging upper-level course will formulate models for inflicting early retirement on head coaches, confusing purely personal complaints with hot-button political issues and skipping team practices and exhibition games. The traditional centerpiece of the course is a unit titled "Endangering Your Club's Chances in the Playoffs Through Diversionary Stress Tactics," and it is augmented by a series of films in which the course's original author, our own Dr. Rodman, separates his shoulder in a late-season motorcycle accident and throws a bag of ice at San Antonio head coach Bob Hill. The class project this term (students will be divided into study teams, or "hit squads") will be to dismantle the playing career of Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan by keeping his mind on anything but the game, fomenting dissension among his remaining teammates and driving Bulls coach Phil Jackson, by season's end, into a halfway house for recovering winos. Another important element of the course is the celebrated "tirade workshop" in which participants practice insulting each other and subtly undermining each other's will and confidence--without benefit of sleep--for 72 hours straight. While Dr. Rodman has led these sessions in semesters past, his present obligations in Ohio preclude his attendance this term. Prerequisite: Principles of Hair Care (course no. 3284). Field trip (mandatory): Nov. 5-7--Home of Vernon Maxwell. Instructor: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, B.S., N.B.A.

Don't know about yours, but the campus-bound hopeful at our house finds these academic offerings just about irresistible. "Gee, Dad," he says. "I think college is gonna be a lot of fun. Will they let me kick the Gatorade tank instead of doing some boring English theme? Will they?"

You bet, son. And you'll be a better man for it.

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