Flashers’ best cure is a hearty chuckle

By Vickie Snow

Everybody grabs the paper on their way to class, forms a blockade around the news bins and then checks it out instead of listening to their professors.

The police beat seems to be one of the best sources of amusement. It’s especially entertaining when someone we know gets caught red-handed trying to steal something from Farm and Fleet (does anyone ever buy anything there?), going to Amnesia with a fake ID or driving under the influence.

We laugh although the situation isn’t funny to the victim and a serious matter. But we’re human and things like that happen to the best of us.

Something else keeps popping up in the police beat that is a different kind of laughing matter. Did you notice that flashers are running wild at NIU?

Almost every week there’s mention of someone spotted somewhere showing his stuff. Maybe they live here because they know there are tons of female college students to harrass.

We really get a kick out of reading this and picturing how it happened. While we can’t help but laugh, it’s really even less of a laughing matter than reading about your roommate getting arrested for “remaining in a tavern as a minor.” People who commit crimes like buying booze for someone under 21 are not seriously deviant—flashers are.

Psychology courses will teach you that “exhibitionists” can become bigger and more harmful nuisances to society. Reporting the incidents is a good step, but these guys rarely get caught.

It can’t be too easy to find them on a campus of almost 15,000 men. And identifying them is probably even harder…with their clothes on anyway.

So maybe we should take matters into our own hands. If the police can’t nail these maladjusted humans, maybe we can stop them from continuing their little game by discouraging them if it happens to us. Guys, don’t feel left out—you can help, too. But since flashers almost always choose women as the spectators, here’s what you might do.

Psychologists say flashers want to shock people and don’t like it when the elected viewer complains or laughs. So let’s use the saying “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” in a different context.

When the freak displays his product, show him your talent of insult or apathy. Things to say are: “Do you have a magnifying glass I can borrow?” or “Is that all?” or “That reminds me, I need to buy a pencil,” or “Do fries come with that?”

If he asks you, “What do you think of this?” like the last reported flasher, a simple “not much” will do.

Laughter can be the best medicine to cure a troubled mind like that of an exhibitionist. Laugh like never before—like you have feathers in your underwear, are watching “Married with Children” or just got your charge card bill in the mail.

Now pay attention, guys. If you hear something unusual going on, check it out. You could save somebody since you’re better at this type of insult anyway.

The more noise you make the better. That way people around you will see what’s going on. Other people might see the guy and you’ll have a better chance of describing him when reporting the incident.

Any flashers out there? If you’re offended, good. Why don’t you put your hobby to use and work at a strip joint?