The Marionette

Dial down the dares

Dylan DelCol, Reporter

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It’s almost time for Eagle Week 2018, and with that, its also time to talk about the way we do dares for Eagle Week because over the past two years they’ve gotten a bit out of hand.

For those of you not acquainted with Harding’s yearly charitable tradition, Eagle week is a school fundraiser that has students raise money through inter-grade-level competition and dares given to the eight “ugly men/women” (two from each grade, one boy one girl).

Last year alone there were dares as obscene as drinking one’s one urine and (in front of a cheering crowd) eating a live goldfish. Both of these cases illustrate serious failings in the management of eagle week from a number of sources.

The urine dare was given to a freshman boy for the price of (if memory serves) fifteen dollars. Friends of mine have tried to justify this by saying that the student agreed to do it and could have said no, but there are some serious flaws in relying on student judgement.

Rochester University’s Health Encyclopedia states that because rational part of our brains (the prefrontal cortex) doesn’t develop until age 25, teenagers just don’t excel at good decision making when it comes to long term consequences. It goes on to explain how, in the heat of the moment, teenagers have a propensity for making decisions based on emotions rather than long-term consequence analysis. Can we really trust each and every student to have perfect judgement when is comes to making and accepting or declining dares?

As for the goldfish dare, well, let’s start with this fun snippet from Oklahoma’s statute on animal cruelty: “Any person who shall willfully or maliciously torture, destroy, or kill… any animal in subjugation of captivity… shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding five years, or by a fine not exceeding $5000.” And yes, our poor little goldfish meets their definition of a “captive animal.” Good thing we didn’t do that in front of 400 witnesses and record the whole thing on camera…

It took only a cursory search to find the relevant information about the legality of swallowing a live goldfish. Regardless of who was supposed to be regulating the event, STUCO or administration or whoever, someone really dropped the ball here.

Furthermore, legality aside, I’d love to hear what students think is so enjoyable about watching another student eat a live fish. Were you cheering because you liked watching another student suffer? Then I have to ask about cruelty as the goal of your dares. Were you cheering the fish being eaten and dying a rather horrible death? Then I have to ask why you enjoy the suffering of creatures you deem lesser than yourself. Were you, like I admittedly was, clapping because you felt obliged to obey the peer pressure from other students and the crowd around you? Then that simply brings us back to where we were earlier, at peer pressure and logical decision making. Were you cheering the spectacle? Then I have to ask if you prioritize spectacle over student safety in creating dares. None of these give me any faith in the responsibility of student dares, mine included.

This brings us to what we, the student body, can do about this issue. The most obvious way to prevent things like the urine drinking dare is self-regulation on behalf of the students, particularly those who undertake these dares. If the dare you have in mind isn’t something you would do for free, maybe err on the side of caution and give some extra thought to whether the dare is just to make the student suffer.

Another step would be to formulate some dares that don’t involve licking/eating things that aren’t usually considered lickable/eatable like bugs or the floor they reside on. The Marionette staff has compiled a few dares that would be far more creative and enjoyable for us to watch and do than simply licking things.


Assembly Dares

Dunk tank – have students pay to try to dunk the uglymen/women/teachers

Ball pit seek and find – create a ball pit, hide something at the bottom, uglypeople then have to dive in and find the object

Giant Hamster Ball – ugly people get rolled around in hamsterball (bubble soccer or giant bowling)

Sumo wrestling – for teachers specifically: put teachers in inflatable sumo suits and have them wrestle

Principal/teacher/human sundae – an uglyperson sits in a chair (or kiddy pool) while students pour chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles, other toppings of choice on uglyperson, topped, of course, with a cherry

Kiss a critter – bring in an animal (pig, goat, goose, etc.) and someone has to kiss the critter

Hair dye – uglyperson dyes their hair a crazy color (or shaves head, gets a reverse mohawk, gets wacky hairdo, etc.)

Slime – make slime, pour on uglyperson

Egg Roulette – one hardboiled egg among a dozen raw ones. The uglypeople take turns smashing eggs on their heads until they find the hardboiled egg.

Daily Dares

Teacher/Principal Jail – designate a room or an area as “jail”. A teacher must stay in jail until a set amount of money (bail) has been raised.

Walk to the front of class and pretend someone tripped you

When a teacher finishes a sentence, applaud them and get the class to join in

When there’s no noise at all in class, raise your hand and complain that class is too loud

Accent – Talk with a different random accent each class period

New Word – Invent a new word and ask your English teacher what it means

Attendance – find a list of synonyms for the word ‘here’ and use them whenever a teacher calls roll

Environmentalist – when your teacher asks for your homework, pretend you’re a part of an organization like greenpeace and tell them that the mass slaughter of trees is unacceptable

Opera challenge – uglyperson must sing anytime they speak that day

Challenge your teacher to a rap battle



This is just a short list but a quick internet search for “fun things to do in school” will reveal far more that I could manage to fit in here. I would love to see some of these daily dares around school, and none of them run the risk of making me want to throw up.

Eagle Week is undoubtedly a good thing: it brings a little competitive fun to our school and raises money for a charitable cause – but we can’t let it become harmful or unsafe for the students involved.

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Dial down the dares