Runner Ben Johnson lost his Olympic gold medal to a drug test. Swimmer Mary T. Meagher lost hers to the U.S. Postal Service. In July, Wheaties asked Meagher to pose for a cereal box wearing two of the three golds she won in the '84 games. She asked her parents to send the medals to the photo studio. Mom and Dad trusted the Postal Service's Express Mail ("When we say overnight, we mean overnight"), and the medals never arrived. "At first I thought they would show up," says Meagher. "Now I know they won't."
You could die of thirst before figuring out how to get a drink in Utah. And that's after the drinking laws have been modernized. Before this year, restaurant customers had to brown-bag it or buy airline-sized little bottles from a state-owned kiosk. But now times have changed. Under the new law, waitresses can't ask whether you want a cocktail. You have to ask. You can't drink if you don't order something to eat. And you can't drink in the restaurant bar at all—the law prohibits drinking near where liquor is dispensed. The rules go on and on. One restaurant owner speculates, "It makes you think there are some guys who get together in a back room and say, 'Let's think up some real weird ones this time.'"
Utah also has a new slogan: "A pretty great state." We aren't making this up (although we did leave out a comma).
Singapore women are just too picky, says their government. They want to marry someone better-educated, wealthier, and taller than they are—or they'll stay single. Meanwhile the guys are marrying down, diluting the gene pool. "If you want to produce geniuses, you have to get the graduate man to marry a graduate girl," says Helen Wang, director of the government's new matchmaking service. "You cannot look for Mr. Right or Mr. Perfect. So we ask our women to play softer, to play a little dumb if possible." After a "two is enough" family planning campaign that succeeded all too well, the government is also encouraging young people to date more and study less—in hopes of producing earlier marriages and more kids. It has even put out a booklet of "nutty ideas" for dates. Some examples: "playing Scrabble on the beach armed with a dictionary and a thesaurus" and planning "how to kill your parents with kindness by being punctual for meals and doing the washing up afterward."
It may be a long hot summer next year for the children of Schaumburg, Illinois. In the name of public safety, town trustees want to ban ice cream trucks from the streets. They worry that kids love ice cream so much they'll run into the road without looking both ways when they see the Good Humor truck and hear the jingling bells. No accidents have occurred to spur the action, and ice cream vendors are afraid they'll be put out of business. Says 11-year-old Kons Muhtaris between licks of his Firecracker treat: "I think they should keep letting the ice cream truck come by. I'd be sad if it stopped."
Cities use zoning to keep out all sorts of "undesirables." Now San Francisco has added architects to the list. City planners want to permanently ban architecture offices from certain areas south of Market Street. They claim architects are too affluent and would drive up the rents of other tenants. Some kinds of job discrimination are apparently fine for the city by the bay.
Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington are coming down with weird cases of nausea, dizziness, sore throats, and skin rashes—only to have their symptoms vanish on the weekends. No, they aren't faking it to get out of work. It seems EPA headquarters was designed to conserve energy. You can't open any of the windows, and the building doesn't breathe. "Indoor pollution" is making people sick.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".