Free Falling

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we will soon be overwhelmed by “best of” lists. I thought I’d get a jump on the competition with my own list, but with a twist. I’d like to offer the “worst of” for 2001.

So, here are my picks for the first-ever, less-than-prestigious Bobby Awards for distinction below and beneath the call of duty.

In the category of “Worst Parking Area in Hillsboro,” the competition was tight. I have to go with the lot at the Tabor College Campus Recreation Center, the CRC, which has become a top-notch workout and weight-lifting facility on campus.

But, folks, the spaces beside the drive are marked in two different directions. I come close to a head-on collision with another car every time I take my daughter to JAM basketball practice on Saturday mornings because the lot is so confusing.

The drive next to the weight room goes one way, but the stalls are slanted the opposite direction.

The Bobby for “Pathetic Parking Skills,” however, clearly belongs to the early morning vocal music students at Hillsboro High School, who excel beyond all other drivers in using two or three spaces for each vehicle in the lot on the south side of the auditorium as they make a mad dash for class at 7:30 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays.

The “Worst Commercial on Television” award is claimed by Pizza Hut for its “Us vs. Them” campaign of recent weeks. This company takes grammar usage to new lows with phrases such as “Them are the other guys” and “Us is Pizza Hut.” The Bobby is presented for pronoun mangling of presidential proportions.

The winner of the Bobby for “Failure to Deliver,” however, goes to those who forecasted the arrival of a movie theater in Hillsboro. Local teens were led to believe our hamlet would be sporting a silver screen by last Christmas. Didn’t happen. And, it seems, we won’t be buying overpriced tickets and over-buttered popcorn within 30 miles in the foreseeable future.

The Bobby for “Best Example of How Not to Write an Editorial” goes to that other local newspaper for its column lamenting the decline of the rivalry between two Marion County schools following a shellacking of Marion by Hillsboro in football. To put it simply, the writer neglected to T-H-I-N-K.

In the area of literature, the Bobby for “Most Ill-Conceived Answer on an Essay Test” goes to a freshman (who will remain anonymous) on a Romeo and Juliet exam. In answer to a question concerning whether the couple had been ruled by fate, or whether Romeo and Juliet made choices that led to their tragic ending, the student wrote, “Juliet couldn’t help it she was born too young.”

Finally, the first-ever entries into the Bobby Hall of Fame, located in an abandoned doghouse in my backyard, come from the category of “Worst Town Names and Slogans” courtesy of the Web site at

The winners or, in this case, losers are Twobarnsachurchandawatertower, a sleepy little burg in South Dakota, for its unimaginative moniker, and Taunton, Mass., which promotes itself as the “largest city of its size.”

Almost makes our own Lehigh’s “Small, but It’s Home” look like sheer genius in comparison, doesn’t it?

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