Joe Pisani (opinion): Plotting a coup for seniors to seize spring break from students

In the spring, a young turkey’s fancy turns to love. Tennyson said that, and I realized truer words were never spoken as I looked out the window and saw four tom turkeys on the lawn, fanning their tail feathers, strutting their stuff and competing with one another to lure a mate ... while the hens were completely oblivious of the pomp and circumstance and trotted away in the opposite direction. Isn’t that always the case?

Watching those toms looking for action has to unnerve males of any species. They’re almost as bad as the young guys who hang out at bars on spring break and fan their tail feathers. I don’t know whether I feel sympathy for them or second-hand embarrassment.

Signs are everywhere that spring is in the air: turkeys pooping all over the lawn, pollen polluting my nasal passages, and thousands of college students causing mayhem on beaches and in bars.

Weeks later, they’re probably still partying in Miami Beach. It makes me wonder: If students can celebrate without masks, why am I teaching college classes with Zoom instead of in-person?

All the revelry has Floridians begging for an end to what CNN will probably describe as “mostly peaceful partying.”

“Only a week or two after videos showed crowds of teens and twenty-somethings partying on South Florida’s beaches, health officials are finding a surge of coronavirus infections in younger people,” the Palm Beach Post reported.

The locals are in an uproar, according to ABC News, which reported: “Miami Beach residents have been protesting outside City Hall over the chaos caused by spring breakers.”

This really bothers me. Why can’t retirees enjoy spring break and cause a little chaos? It’s discrimination. If President Joe Biden got me that stimulus check in time, I could have been in Miami Beach with the youngsters, twerking on top of Cadillacs and playing bikini volleyball on the beach. When is that cash coming anyway ... and who hid my Speedo?

Spring break shouldn’t be a privilege of only one class. I’m a progressive wannabe who believes we all should be allowed to go crazy one week of the year, call in sick, board the dog in a kennel and send the grandkids back to their parents, so we can frolic in the sun and stay out after our curfew.

Instead of Miami Beach, retirees could incite mayhem in St. Petersburg, once famously known as the retirement capital of America, which is what it was called during my years working at the St. Petersburg Times.

After watching videos of hundreds being arrested, I decided to put spring break on my bucket list. I’m hoping my grandkids will take me down there someday, even if I have to use a walker, but that day is a long way off because they just enrolled in kindergarten, and the kindergarten idea of spring break is a six pack of chocolate milk and twerking with dinosaurs at Peabody Museum. Take my advice, kids — stick with the chocolate milk.

Sadly, I never went on spring break. For that matter, I also missed Woodstock because I had a paper due in metaphysics for the Rev. McCool SJ. In retrospect, I should have gone to Woodstock because I got a lousy grade on the paper.

When I was a student and spring break came around, my father had other plans. No fun in the sun. He had this prearranged deal with my cousin Larry, who was a bricklayer. To pay my college tuition, I had to work, mixing mortar, carrying bricks, setting up scaffolding and taking abuse from a lot of bricklayers who took delight in proving they were smarter than a college kid. They were. Instead of studying Plato, they learned a trade. They never went on spring break either. They got up every morning, went on the job and worked hard to support their families.

That’s why I feel a special bond to my students. Like me, most of them are the first generation in their families to go to college. For some, English is a second language, others have kids to support, and a few are single moms.

All of them are working a job, if not two, while taking courses. They’re the ones who deserve a spring break. So the air fare is on me if I ever get that stimulus check.

If not, we’ll charge it to Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.

Joe Pisani can be reached at