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Poor Ol' Dad, She's No Chip Off the Old Block

September 27, 1996|ART BUCHWALD

As soon as the Virginia Military Institute voted to accept women at the school, a version of the following scene took place among alumni all over the state.

"Alice, I have good news for you. You can now enroll in VMI, my alma mater, which I have loved all my life."

"Daddy, I don't want to go to VMI. I want to go to Radcliffe."

"Shame on you. Radcliffe is for girls."

"But I am a girl."

"VMI will give you the steel and discipline that your brother and I have. I have dreamed of this moment for years. The fact that you can now enroll is an opportunity you can bless the Supreme Court for. Just think. You'll be the first Donahue woman to attend VMI, and your daughters and granddaughters will follow suit. I can't wait for you to be a brother rat."

"Dad, I read that they are going to shave the heads of the women cadets to teach them a lesson."

"You won't be sorry. One day when you're in the trenches of Malaysia, you will thank VMI for shaving your head. You will also understand that they had to shave your head to wash your brains."

"Daddy, I really don't want to spend my college years doing push-ups."

"Bite your tongue. Everyone has to do push-ups. You can't fire missiles at the Iraqis if you are unable to flex your muscles. VMI is the perfect school for you."

"If I can't go to Radcliffe, can I go to Smith?"

"They don't teach you character at Smith. VMI is the only institution where they instruct you on how to throw yourself on a live hand grenade and win the Medal of Honor."

"I was hoping to become an interior decorator, not a war hero."

"I'd hate to see you waste your life drawing pictures of living rooms when you could be on a 29-mile hike with only one canteen of water and cold C rations. That's what I always envisioned for my daughter."

"Daddy, I appreciate you wanting me to attend your alma mater, but I am not a chip off the old block. I believe in the military, but not as a career for me."

"But I've already sent off your application. I get special treatment because I was in the top 10% of my class. I can't very well cancel the application. It would be a cowardly thing to do."

"I'm not going. I am not interested in carrying a rifle around and eating VMI food. I don't want to prove that I'm better than a man when it comes to running the obstacle course, nor do I want male cadets chewing me out because my shoes aren't shined."

"I never thought a daughter of mine would reject the opportunity to learn how to deal with mental pressure, physical stress and psychological bonding. You've let me down, and you've let my school down. You'll have to live with this for the rest of your life."

"Sorry, Pops, but maybe you can come visit me if I go to SweetBriar."

"Doesn't any young Southern woman care about going to Somalia any more?"

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