Kenneth Cleaver 

Consumer Correspondent

September 1, 2005

Ms. Patricia P. McArver

VP for Communications

The Citadel

171 Moultrie Street

Charleston, SC 29409

Dear Ms. McArver:

Having a bit of a dilemma and would appreciate your advice. My son wants to attend military school next year. My wife and I want him out of the house. Ha, ha just kidding.

The problem is that Wilbur -- and do forgive my use of a colloquialism -- is a pussy. I don't mean to sound harsh, but facts are facts. I know Wilbur's a pussy, his friends know he's a pussy and Wilbur knows he's a pussy. It's not that the boy lacks conviction -- try getting him to eat a non-organic

vegetable! -- he's just not what you'd call a rough-and-tumble kid.

Why he wants a military career is beyond us, but who are we to say no? After all, look who's in the White House. At least Wilbur's volunteering. Here's the thing: I've seen the movies, and I really can't say with any confidence that my boy would make it through even a week of military school.

I know the military's big on this whole Army of One idea, and I'm wondering if there's any chance you could substitute the hazing rituals of Hell Week with something along the lines of, say, Bad Hair Week? There's a lot of other deprivations Wilbur might endure to become disciplined: cutting off his access to the Styles section of The New York Times, for example, or forcibly acquainting him with synthetic fibers.

Again, I'm not trying to disparage my boy. I'm proud of him. I've no idea why he wants to do this, but I respect his decision and could really use his bedroom for an office. I realize that parents' fears can be overblown, and I also know military school is beyond my ken. I look forward to your thoughts.


Kenneth H. Cleaver

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