The Homecoming Queen’s Got a BRRRRRAAAAPPP!

Two major beauty-related events recently took place in Lake Elsinore, and guess what. I’m going to tell you about them.

The first one (not chronologically, but in order of appearance in this column) was the Miss Lake Elsinore Pageant. It was probably very exciting. I don’t know; I wasn’t there. The only reason I bring it up is that the winner, Kristy Grasso, is the girlfriend of a friend of mine, Jeff Sprague, and I just wonder if someday 10 years from now someone will pick up the newspaper and turn to the wedding announcements section and see the heading “Sprague-Grasso” and burst out laughing, thinking that a disease and the Spanish word for “lawn” are getting married.

I also understand that the competitors were not required (as are the Miss America candidates) to perform some kind of talent, such as mime or singing or skeet-shooting. It’s good to know that this beauty pageant was a meat show, plain and simple, and didn’t even attempt to appear otherwise.Oh, and by way of explanation to those who were there, my little brother was operating the lights. That is why, during the dance production, the spotlight was usually focused somewhere other than the girls’ faces, if you get my drift.

The other recent beauty thing was the Elsinore Homecoming Deal. The major difference between this and the Miss Lake Elsinore Pageant is that the Homecoming Court members were all required to perform a talent: they all had to burp.

Perhaps, just this once, I should explain myself. It is a tradition at Elsinore High that once the Homecoming Court has been chosen, the Activities Persons make them do stupid things every day during lunch for a week. There is, I assume, a reason for this, but no one knows what it is. We all just kind of accept it, the way we accept hall passes, when everyone knows that Elsinore High doesn’t even have halls.

Anyway, as an example, one of last year’s events was to make the girls all take turns kissing a goat, which had been rescued from the cafeteria just in the nick of time and which may have had scads and scads of venereal goat diseases, for all we know.

This year, however, the Activities Persons decided to inject a bit of class into the festivities by holding a contest to see which Court member could belch the best.

Normally, of course, I would have no objection to this. Burping is a nice, healthy outlet for people’s frustrations, as well as a few liters of unwanted gas. But I think it was rather insensitive to make these poor girls try to burp when everyone knows that several of them have what’s known as Belch Deficiency, a disease that infects the belchal chords and prevents the victim from burping, no matter how much root beer you cram down her throat. (I say “her” because no male has ever been a Belch Deficient.)

One girl in particular named Jodi Anderson had a lot of trouble getting a belch out. She insists that she is not a Belch Deficient, but I’ll have to believe that when I see…uh, hear it.

Said Jodi, of the whole affair, “I liked kissing a goat better.” I at first assumed this to be a rather cruel joke at the expense of her former boyfriend, whose name is Ramon, or Raoul, or something like that, but she quickly reminded me of last year’s event, which of course involved kissing Ramon. I mean, a goat.

And while we’re relatively close to being on the subject, wasn’t it clever of the Activities Persons to have the Homecoming Court belch AFTER they’d been elected? Personally, I think it should have been stated on the ballot which girls could burp and which couldn’t so we would have known which ones not to vote for and thus protect ourselves from having a Belch Deficient Homecoming Court.

Imagine the embarrassment Mr. Price, the principal, must feel when he goes to Principal Conventions and the other principals ask him how well his school’s Homecoming Court can belch and he has to say something like, “Not very well, but they’re all very pretty and they represent the school quite nicely,” and the other principals laugh out loud and maybe spit in his eye.

As a matter of fact, I think the announcement of the Homecoming Queen should have gone like this:

ANNOUNCER: And the 1990 Homecoming Queen is . . . ERIN PEREZ!!!

But who cares what I think?

None of the people mentioned got mad at my portrayal of them, not even Ramon the goat-boy.

Some people apparently thought I was making up the burping contest, but I wasn't it. If it had been fictitious, the column would not have been the slightest bit funny, as it would have been satire of something that didn't exist anyway. I wouldn't stoop to that level, I don't think.

The headline used for this column was "Kristy Grasso is Miss Lake Elsinore, Erin Perez is Homecoming Queen -- But Can They Burp?" At some point, though, the word "burp" got changed to "jump." I was never able to find out why. Eric Grimm, the editor, said some layout person must have seen the word "burp" and decided that such an obscenity shouldn't be used in a headline, and changed it to something stupid instead. But we never did get to the bottom of it. See the next column for more on that issue.