by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
March 23, 2001
BURN YOUR MONEY SO IT WON'T GET STOLEN
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Sometimes I think we need to have Stupid Jail. I'm sure there are those of you who would argue that all jail isstupid, but you're probably already serving time anyway, so your argument won't carry much weight.
No, what I'm talking ab= out is a jail for stupid people. This isa jail where people would have to g= o because they did something reallystupid. I don't mean, "Locked your keys in the car while the car isrunning and your puppy is still inside" stupid. I'm talking about "Blewup your car because you were smoking and filling a g= as can at the sametime" stupid.
If someone does something stupid tha= t causes physical harm orproperty damage, they should have to go to a jail built especially forstupid people.
And since I'm the self-appointed arbiter of what is stupid, Iget to pick who goes.
This week's case i= s "The People vs. The University of WesternSydney" (as in Australia). Earlier this week, the Sydney Daily Telegraph(http://dailytelegraph.com.a= u) broke a story that 10,000 books had beenburied at UWS since 1996, and ar= e presumably still there (I'll let youwrite your own jokes about the books Down Under being a little furtherdown under).
According to the story= , because of nearly quadrupled enrollmentover the past 11 years, space and funding has been scarce. So to "solve"the problem, someone at the Uni, as t= hey call it, buried the books in abig hole in the ground.
"They got in a bobcat and buried 10,000 books at the back of theuniversity at midnigh= t one night because they didn't have the space anddidn't want to pay for st= orage," said interim vice president DaneyFaddoul.
As if burying the books wasn't bad enough, it was also reportedthat many of the books, which were donated by Sydney University, werefirst editions and rare books over 1= 00 years old. It gets worse.According to the story by Kathy Lipari, the boo= ks were also buried by aformer librarian. However, in a Reuters news story,= Universityspokesperson Stephen Matchett said that no one knew who buried t= hebooks, although he referred to that person as "some idiot." Of course,he also called these rare and valuable volumes "surplus books," which islike c= alling Moby Dick "another fish."
So let me see if I get this straigh= t. The university didn't haveany money to store 10,000 rare and first editi= on books, books that arevery valuable to begin with. So, rather than sellin= g the books andmaking some money, someone -- a librarian, no less -- decide= d to dig abig hole in the ground, dump the books in, and cover them up, lea= ving them there to this day.
Does anyone else see the logic in any of= this? I didn't either.
It's like selling your car to pay your car i= nsurance. It's likecutting off your leg so you won't break it. It's like . . . it's like .. . it's like I've run out of things that are incredibly s= tupid. I don'tthink anyone could do anything more stupid and short-sighted,= even on a dare.
Why couldn't the University hold a book sale? Why co= uldn't they give the books to students who scored well on exams? Or if they were boring books, why couldn't they give them to students who failed their e= xams?
There are so many things they could have done had they just tak= en the time to sit down, think about the problem, and, oh I don't know, thou= ght it through? I can just imagine the thought processes of the goobers who came up with this one.
Sheila: Gosh, Bruce, what are we going to do?= Those jerks at Sydney University just gave 10,000 valuable books to us, kno= wing full well we don't know where to store them.
Bruce: I don't know= , Sheila. That is a head scratcher.
Sheila: I know! Let's bury them!= !
Bruce: That's a great idea! I was either going to donate them toth= e needy, or make a fort out of them, but your way sounds much easier. In other, mostly fictional news, the UWS has been making othercost-cuttin= g measures on campus. To save money in the athleticdepartment, all sports b= alls and uniforms have been fed to wild dogs.Administrators slashed the din= ing services budget by dumping all cookingequipment into the ocean. And the= education budget will get a break nextsemester when all the professors wil= l be fired and the class buildingsburned down.
So the books are stil= l there, living with the worms (I'll letyou make your own bookworm jokes). And there are currently no plansunderway to get them back out. And they'll stay there, nourishing thesoil, rather than nourishing the minds of student= s and the community.Almost makes me wish someone had thought to bury a few universityadministrators and a librarian instead.
You know, I could become rich and famous if I could find a curefor whatever it is that makes people so clueless as to considersomething like burying books because of a= lack of funds a good idea.
Or I could just keep writing about stupi= d people and how I wishI could send them to Stupid Jail.
I think tha=