Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Correspondent

The President’s Challenge Poplars Research Center 400 E. Seventh Street Bloomington, IN 47405-3085

Dear President’s Challenge:

Of my many memories of adolescent emasculation, few have taxed my self-esteem for as long as the debacle of my seventh-grade President’s Challenge pull-up test. Perhaps it was payback for dogging it in the 600-yard run or spending so many gym . . . I mean, “physical education” . . . classes manufacturing spit wads in the boys’ room. With the help of a physical trainer and a cultural climate conducive to equal-opportunity narcissism, I have now developed a respectable frame. But at age 13, strength was not my strength. Even the surge of desperate adrenaline in the presence of a coed peer group could not furnish me with the necessary muscle for a pull-up. Not one!

Strangely enough, children’s sports etiquette can often serve as a model for adult society. Could you imagine the Israelis and Palestinians calling a “do over”? Luckily, I’m not a disputed Holy Land, but a post-adolescent therapy patient. Upon the advice of my therapist, I have been trying to conquer outstanding traumas. In essence, healing myself through a series of “do overs.” I would be forever in your debt should you grant me another pull-up test. My current workout regime features numerous pull-ups of the wide, parallel, and traditional grips, and I feel physically and psychologically ready for the challenge. My therapist stresses the need for the test to be as accurate a re-creation as possible, so I would appreciate it if you could stock the test site with roughly 60 boys and girls 12 and 13 years of age.

I realize this might be tricky to coordinate, but my schedule is flexible.

Thanks in advance, Kenneth H. Cleaver

Mr. Kenneth H. Cleaver P.O. Box 810 Bedford, NY 10506

Dear Mr. Cleaver:

We regret to inform you that we are unable to provide you with any setup such as you have requested. We recommend that you contact a school in your area to see if one of the instructors is able to help you realize your objective. Best of luck to you in your positive endeavors!

Sincerely, Sarah K. Schuetz Graduate Assistant

From the May 10-16, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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