Apoplanesis (a-po-plan’-e-sis): Promising to address the issue but effectively dodging it through a digression.
Reporter: Why were you arrested.?
Vice Principal: In a minute, please.
I’m always happy to greet and talk to the press. News reporting is a bulwark of our democracy. When I was a reporter for my high school newspaper, I exposed the principal for selling parking permits to faculty when they were supposed to be free. I’m surprised nobody turned him in before me. He supposedly had a zero tolerance policy on squealing. Squealers where threatened to be assigned to pick up cigarette butts “on school property,” a task that was so onerous that nobody said a word. Even more powerful as a disincentive were the photoshopped pictures he had of faculty engaging in “activities” with students. I guess faculty were complicit in something approximating the pictures, or they would not have acceded to the principal’s threats. After he was busted, the principal was put on “butt duty” and demoted to classroom aide and mandated to take 100 hours of honesty training workshops. In one of their exercises, a valuable item is left on the floor. The facilitator leaves the room and the trainees discuss the pros and cons of stealing it—in this case a Rolex watch belonging to the facilitator. When the facilitator came back, the watch was gone and nobody could remember what happened.
Ten minutes before the end of the training session, the principal, sobbing in tears, pulled the watch out of his pocket and said “I am so ashamed.” The facilitator called for a group hug. The principal was nearly smothered and was taken for observation to the hospital where it was discovered he had a cracked rib. After his training was completed he was reassigned as a school crossing guard, where the children swear he frequently holds his stop sign upside down, drinks out of a paper bag, and smells funny. He also makes them race each other across the street in front of cars while he stands on the curb cheering and fanning himself with his stop sign. If this is true, the principal will be sent to rehab, and all will be well. After rehab, the principal, due to “extensive hands-on experience,” will be made Superintendent of Schools for his district. In a way, I think I helped him get where he is today—if I hadn’t blown the whistle, he’d still be a mediocre administrator selling parking permits. Clearly, the system works. The sensitive, humane management of employee criminality and dereliction yield positive results, among which are employee retention, and the avoidance of law suits.
Reporter: Ok. Cut the crap. We’ve heard the old “dodgeroo” before. Now that we know about the principal and all the rest of your evasive BS, tell us why you were arrested!
Vice Principal: I have been granted bail, as you know. Bail is an admirable aspect of our legal system. If you have money or a trusty bail bondsman, and you’re not a flight risk, you can get out of jail pending your trial. I would never fly anywhere anyway, or even take a train or a bus. I’m a solid risk. You can trust that!
Well, I’ve got to go serve lunch at the nursing home, and then go to church for evening mass. We’ll take this up again at a later date.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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