Randy Cohen, columnist for the New York Times Magazine, received this letter:
Some local fifth graders vandalized our town’s voluntarily financed, old
and prestigious organic garden.
They were caught and did community service, but there is still several thousand
dollars’ worth of damage. Do their wealthy parents have an obligation to pay
for these repairs? — R.S., California
I was glad to see Cohen’s response, a hearty "They do," followed by talk of how to make that happen. Then he asked the question that was on my mind:
The most surprising detail of your story: prestigious organic garden?
Not one of those tawdry organic gardens with the vulgar neon signs over
the compost pile? I had not realized that there was status to be gained
from the right sort of mulch.
Well, I note the question came from somewhere in California, but still.