Call to parents fails to get through to Loyola student


November 29, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

We've received a letter here from one of those Loyola lads -- one of the Swallow Eight. His epistle is all about that night at the Swallow -- conventional spelling, but the owner likes Swollow, too -- at the Hollow when the lady of the house, Linda Clark, made wake-up calls to the mommies and daddies of eight Loyola students who, she suspected, had gained entry to the bar with fake ID cards. (Police cited the Swollow Eight for underage drinking.)

It was a unique retaliatory measure by a North Baltimore tavern owner, who knew she could get into trouble with the city Liquor Board because of what happened.

(Note: The columns on this subject are not meant to debate the relative merits of having 21 as the legal drinking age. This is about the unusual move a woman made to protect her business and her reputation in a time of heightened societal pressure about drinking by young people. She might have shaken up some parents in the process; long-distance phone calls at 1 a.m. will do that.)

It also might have been Linda Clark's aim to send a warning to the college kids who descend on the bars along York Road several nights each week. But, in light of this letter from the Loyola lad, its debatable whether she succeeded.

"I find it incredibly hard to believe that Linda Clark is being commended for calling [our] parents," he writes. "I am 19 years old, and I was one of those eight students. All of the students were over the age of 18, which makes us adults."

Right, old enough to vote and die for your country; not old enough to buy a beer. Heard that one. Got the album. Let's move on, laddie.

"There is absolutely nothing that our parents could or need to do to us. My parents know that I drink and that I had a fake ID, and they trusted me because I am an adult and have always been responsible. ... So why did Linda Clark call our parents? To make herself look good in front of the police and when she appears in court.

"I know that what I did was wrong and I am willing to accept the consequences. I am the one who is going to court. I am the one who is facing a fine, not my parents. Why is there a need to involve our families?"

Hasn't the lad ever heard of family values?

"My problem is that The Baltimore Sun felt it was necessary to run a [column], on page one of the Metro section, honoring Linda Clark for doing something that was pointless and a violation of our rights."

Oh, I get it: Another victim!

"I hope Linda Clark is not proud of herself, because I would not be if I were her. Her late-night phone calls accomplished nothing except for getting her name in the paper and publicizing her bar. Did she think that by telling our parents they would tell us what is right and wrong? Well, my parents always told me it was wrong to tattle."

And nya nya nya!

Ah, to be young and whiny....

Mixed media

We spotted a car downtown the other day with a mixed message (we think that's what it was) on its license plate frame. The top line said, "Save The Bay." The bottom line said, "Sink A Sailboat."... Readers of TJI swear they heard these slips of the tongue: In a seafood restaurant, someone ordered "lobster humidor," and a woman trying to describe a deviated septum came up with the term "devastated symptom," which we've been unable to find in the medical dictionary.... And then, of course, for all of us who like to quote slogans off the back ends of cars, there was this sign in front of a church in Upperco: "Actions speak louder than bumper stickers."

Smoke screen

Observed along Harford Road, in the Carney area, by TJI reader Greg O'Brien: A large cloud of white smoke. "I could sense I was approaching a stoplight," O'Brien says. "When I stopped and the cloud dissipated, a tan Ford pickup was in front of me. The right-side exhaust pipe was the origin of the white smoke. Just above and to the left of the pipe was a bumper sticker: 'We Are Asbestos Victims -- The White Lung Association.' The Ford turned left onto Harford. I followed, from at least a four-car distance, to avoid the Eau De Troit. The coup de ville of this whole thing was that, when I passed the driver at Joppa Road, he was crushing a cigarette and tossing it out the window."

Child care, too

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