Hem haw haws of yesterday

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Ran some Olympic memories last week and found another old column mentioning the London Olympics of 2012. Just have to revisit that one.

Should lady pugilists at the coming 2012 Olympics in London be forced to wear skirts instead of boxing shorts? That subject was raising hackles among female athletes from 21 countries during warm-up bouts in England during the last week of November. The International Olympic Committee is debating what to do, and of course if they decide to make skirts mandatory, the immediate question becomes “mini, midi, or maxi?”

This situation caused me to recall a similar situation right here in our own Flathead County back in 1997.

On the first day, the Associated Press said, “Flathead County Commissioners have taken on the role of fashion police.”

The second day, the AP reported, “Scorn and defiance have greeted a Flathead County employee dress code requiring shorts and skirts of female employees to cover their knees.”

The Daily Inter Lake headline said, “Knees aren’t knocking over county dress codes.”

All but one county department head got into the act with open defiance and most used words like “ridiculous.” Even dignified judges and prosecutors had fun with the commissioners’ “no knees” memo. There were hallway jokes about “calving time” and puns about such things as “bare repellent.”

As for Montana’s oldest living reporter, the record should be made perfectly clear that I did not actually call our most powerful elected county officials “the three stooges.” The facts are, subconscious forces took over my brain during the morning news broadcast on May 9, and what came out over the air was this: “The Knee Memo was issued unanimously, having been signed by all three of our county commissioners - Curly, Moe, and Larry.”

It is certainly not my fault that public curiosity immediately mounted over which commissioner was which stooge.

Having great faith in grassroots participation on all government issues, I graciously accepted citizen feedback, not skirting the issue, and the results were almost unanimous.

The people’s choice was Robert Watne as Curly, Howard Gipe as Larry, and Dale Williams as Moe.

Anyone still having questions about any of these matters should not bother a busy old reporter, but instead address concerns directly to the commissioners, who always have time for dealing with the bare essentials and ups and downs of county business.

Hope this clarification puts that sensitive issue to rest once and for all.

The dress code idea was quickly abandoned, and everyone involved breathed deep thighs of relief.

Speaking of knees, one of the sales guys at work says he had a girlfriend in college who wore a black garter just above her knee, “in memory of those who had passed beyond.”

Were I now serving on the International Olympic Committee, I’d be the very last one to tell Muhammad Ali’s two-fisted daughter what to wear while she’s beating up on people.

G. George Ostrom is an award-winning columnist. He lives in Kalispell.

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