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Dare Me?Stop the Pop: For the Children

By Sarah Buckley

What a great country! With minimal effort, I was able to go from college newspaper columnist to Z-list celebrity within a week. I’ve been doing radio interviews for stations both here and abroad (Canada), and my inbox is full of comments about my last article (where I tried to solicit money for a boob job). I even get fanmail offering to increase my ejaculate volume by 500 percent!

I have a few interesting projects coming up. In January, I’m planning to fly down to Austin to do a stunt with ESPN radio. And then an actual semi-celebrity might pull something off with me if I can come up with a decent idea. This week, however, I decided to do something a little more low-key; I have a lot of exams, and anyway not every week can be a boobs week.

The dare comes from one of the message-boards that hosted my last article, One poster suggested that I start an initiative called “Stop the Pop” and try to pass a petition that would mandate that all collars be worn in the proper, down position. He wrote, “If we can just get to one collar … just one, then it will have all been worth it.”

This is a good idea, though it would be of limited use here at MIT. The only reason you’d see popping around these halls is because most people here don’t bother to give themselves the old pat-down before leaving home. I decided Harvard would be a much more productive venue for my scheme.

I headed over to the big H wearing a yellow polo shirt and a blue polo shirt, both collars popped, with a tag exclaiming, “I look stupid!” And indeed I did — you can see for yourself at I flagged down the first student I saw and asked if he would be willing to sign a petition that would make it legal for me to punch people with popped collars. He looked aghast.

Hippy: Punching is never the answer to your problems.

Me: What about hitting?

Hippy: No.

Me: What about bitch slapping?

Hippy: No, didn’t you hear what—

Me: What about eye-gouging?

He left in a huff. Looking for a bit of positive reinforcement, I approached a girl wearing her collar down. I soon realized she was one of those smarmy intellectualism whores with self-righteousness spilling out of her ass.

Ho: Why would you want to legislate against fashion?

Me: Popped collars aren’t just fashion — they’re pretentious at best and downright racist at worst.

Ho: [Eyes light up] Racist?

Me: Sure! Popped collars … polo shirts … country clubs … You see where I’m going with this? Everyone knows country clubs are bastions of right-wing propagandism, the neo-con conspiracy, and racism.

Ho: [Look of wonder]. Whoa, I never saw it that way. You’ve really given me something to think about.

I think you can convince these types of anything as long as you’ve studied trigger-word flash cards the night before. My next victim was dressed in one of those punk rock getups, so I was fairly sure he’d be into my cause.

Me: So do you ever feel like hitting people with popped collars?

Emo: Yes, all the time!

Me: What about impaling them?

Emo: Yes!

Me: What about reaching all the way down their mouths, grabbing onto their butts, and yanking them inside out?

Emo: Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!

Me: Dude, that’s sick.

I also made it a point to get input from a professor, asking if he recognized the style I was sporting.

Prof: Sure, I’ve seen some of my students do that.

Me: So do you give them lower grades?

Prof: Of course not! I grade based on work.

Me: But the quality of their work is such that they end up receiving low grades anyway, right?

Prof: That’s ludicrous.

Me: Are you talking about my collar?

Prof: No, no, the grades —

Me: What?

Prof: You were asking about —

Me: Let’s stick to the issues MISTER Johnson, if that IS your real name!

Prof: This is ridiculous.

He’s right, it is. The idea that anyone at Harvard gets low grades is ludicrous.

I ended up approaching a few kids with popped collars and found that popping seems to correlate pretty well with an overall lack of humor (“I’m personally really offended by what you’re doing.”) That’s something I’ve noticed about the people who interact with my dares: there’s always a group who’ll take me seriously regardless of what I do, even if I am wearing an ‘I look stupid’ sign.

Which brings me to my next point — a lot of my dares so far involve signs of some sort. Props to the person who can send me a dare that requires no written announcements. Direct them to