St. Charles, Missouri, has been in the news before (my news, at least), back when it was contemplating an ordinance that would have banned "profane language" anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold, a ban that would have been unconstitutional as well as f&#^ing ridiculous. That didn't pass, as it turns out (though it is now illegal to dance on a bar there), but clearly the right to curse is still under siege.
Or at least I infer that from the fact that the Sugar Plum Fairy was fired there recently for cursing during a job-related drug test.
Laura Coppinger has been part of the town's "Main Street Christmas Traditions" festival for six years now, serving as the Sugar Plum Fairy (right) for most of that time. She was quite popular, but her job did not survive this incident, which happened during the traditional Christmas drug test of city employees. (Actually not traditional -- this is the first year for it.)
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Fairy was attempting to comply when she accidentally flushed the toilet, which is forbidden because it may be possible to dilute samples with the incoming water (the water in the bowl has blue stuff in it). "I don't have to take drug tests too often," said the Sugar Plum Fairy, "so out of habit I flushed the toilet, and as soon as I did it I was like, oh, no." But that wasn't what got her fired.
The woman supervising the tests dumped the sample and told her she would have to provide another. Because that can't always be done right away, the Fairy was going to have to wait, and that meant she would miss a job interview. "Out of frustration," she said, "I cursed." Shortly thereafter, she was told she could go home. When she asked why, the woman said, "I think you should call St. Charles HR about that."
You see, the Fairy had violated a section of the Christmas Traditions Code of Conduct, namely the one stating that "Christmas Characters Don't Know Naughty Words." This one did, of course, but had not uttered it in her role as a Christmas character. Rather, she did it as a private citizen, out of character, in the hallway of a private drug testing facility. Coppinger pointed this out, and offered to apologize, but was stonewalled by city employees whose hearts are clearly two sizes too small. (Next on the agenda: waterboarding Cindy Lou Who until she gives up the roast beast.)
According to the report, there has been a groundswell of support for the Fairy, who as of Thursday morning has 2,123 Likes on her Facebook page ("Save the Sugar Plum Fairy"). Local merchants also support her. "This whole thing is stupid," said the owner of Grandma's Cookies. "They should pay her double for what she's done for Christmas Traditions."
I think it was LBJ who said, "If I've lost the owner of Grandma's Cookies, I've lost Middle America." Take the hint, St. Charles, and rehire the Sugar Plum Fairy.