Learning a struggle, thanks to Jesse

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 23, 1999

Within days, students will be headed back to the dreaded classrooms.

Monday, August 23, 1999

Within days, students will be headed back to the dreaded classrooms.

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The signs are already obvious, parents are frantically eying back-to-school sales, children are hurrying to get in a few extra hours of summertime fun and teachers are starting to work on lesson plans.

After all, each student, from kindergarten to college, will be expected to learn a few new things in the upcoming months.

They’ll experience new ideas, new math formulas, new science facts and new words.

Of course, as some English types point out, ours is an ever-changing language, meaning new words – and meanings – are always popping up, whether in a classroom or not.

A new definition craze seems to be alive and well in Minnesota’s Capitol.

While it’s taken awhile for the more think-headed of us to admit, it seems we’ll have the likes of Gov. Jesse Ventura to contend with for the next few years.

No, it wasn’t a bad dream caused by leftover pizza eaten in the middle of the night. It actually happened in Minnesota – Land of 10,000 wrestling fans who can make an &uot;X.&uot;

With our flashy governor comes a new language that Minnesotans will need to pick up in order to keep on top of political issues.

From his early days of campaigning, Ventura has promoted himself as the voice of the &uot;common man.&uot;

Of course the first entry into the new dictionary of Ventura lingo needs to describe the &uot;common man&uot; as a former movie star who drives a Porsche and owns a ranch.

In other words, the guy of the street. It’s just unclear which street.

Another word Mr. Ventura likes to toss around is &uot;business&uot; when referring to his early wrestling days. He says he’s confused as to why people are upset about him taking care of &uot;business&uot; and earning a paycheck.

That sounds fair – until you realize what &uot;business&uot; means.

Growing up, we referred to dressing up in tights and feather boas or grappling with friends in mock fights as &uot;dress up&uot; or &uot;horseplay.&uot; Today, in Vetura-ese that’s &uot;business.&uot;

I wonder if a person can get a &uot;business&uot; loan using that definition?

Of course, using terms loosely should be expected from a governor who promoted a tax rebate based in income and called it a &uot;sales tax rebate.&uot;

This is also the governor who condemns &uot;politics as usual&uot; and then practices it by launching into a series of surprise vetoes and trash talk against lawmakers.

With this year’s session completed and negotiations finished, Ventura blind sided legislators by using his line-item veto authority to strip $160 million from various bills.

This was after deals had been struck with the governor’s top lieutenants, according to legislative leaders, who said the vetoes amounted to reneging on agreements that had been sealed with handshakes, the common currency of lawmaking.

But, hey, the governor is just doing the business of the people.

Of course, the business of the people – in his mind – is writing a book to promote himself, heading to late-night talk shows and prancing around in the ring last night.

And, when he gets a chance he’ll try to make a few decisions for the state.

After all, he points out that he represents all the people of the state and has their best interests in mind.

Does that include the people he ridicules and threatens?

It seems in his definition, we aren’t real Minnesotans.

Granted, it’s almost expected for politicians with limited imaginations to attack the press. We’re easy targets and can absorb the blame. But, Ventura’s also attacked college students and average residents who dared speak out against him.

Is he representing these Minnesotans when he issues veiled threats or snide comments?

According to the &uot;Book of Jesse Words,&uot; yes.

At least, yes this week.

The governor always feels free to change his mind on a whim – something most constituents like to see in a leader.

That, of course, means we’ll all have to keep our Ventura-lingo guidebooks handy and be ready to take notes and erase any comments he later wants to claim he didn’t make or intend.

So, while students are returning to class to learn about the truths that surround us, the adults can keep their ideas and learn the &uot;truths&uot; as told by &uot;The Mind.&uot;