Seeing that tomorrow's Today section will feature artistic Valentines created by children reminded me of a kindergarten art contest I organized about 20 years ago.
What could be nicer, right?
Well, after the winning entries were printed in the newspaper, the whole thing turned into a snakepit of accusations and recriminations. Parents of non-winning kids denounced parents of the winners for over-the-line helping. Charges flew back and forth. It got nasty.
After I shared a bit of the rancor with the woman I had gotten to judge the contest — a quiet, sweet-natured artist — she staggered away from my desk with a dazed look.
The whole thing would have made a fine installment in my imaginary set-at-a-newspaper sitcom. That episode could have been titled “The Kindergarten Art Contest.”
Of course, if you want to talk vicious you need to hear about some of the blowback I got after presenting the winning photos in a Cutest Pet competition.
But that's another story.