Um, excuse me, please? Can someone give me a hand? I’m trying to climb up onto my soapbox, and these heels, um, yikes…okay. There.
Because here’s the deal. A certain magazine is in town today, interviewing girls at my alma mater for the “Girls of the SEC” spread. Frankly, I don’t care. As long as you are going into this willingly, as long as you are not eleven years old, as long as you aren’t going to be kidnapped and sold into the black market afterwards, go. Do what it is you think you need to do. Free country. Free will.

Here’s the problem I have. And it really, truly has nada to do with partially-nude-to-nude layouts. It has to do with quotes liked this, from a junior who wants to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

“I really associate Pl*yboy with the women who have been in there before,” she said. “The big names,” she added, such as Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith.

Um, sweetie? Newsflash. They are both dead. And both dead before their time. Now that’s something to aspire to.

I don’t put these two “celebrities” on the same level in the entertainment world, for the most part. But this much is true: no matter what the medical examiners tell you, they both died of overexposure.

As someone who is comfortably in the throes of middle age (and who never thought she would live to see the day when an astronaut is famous not for traveling a millionty miles into space but for traveling 900 miles in a diaper), I just think we owe it to ourselves, to humankind, to aspire to more.

And as someone who is trying to raise a daughter, I think we owe it to her.