Let me tell you a story about how the news that Ms. Martha Stewart will be one of the cover models for the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue reminded me of a story from my 2007 high “school” health “class.”

(If this lead does not arrest your attention, I know not what will. Go try Buzzfeed or something.)

To begin, you may wonder why I threw two sets of quotes around school and class into my previous paragraph. My high school was a special place (I attended with fellow New Leaf Journal writer Victor V. Gurbo, one year behind). We had a scheduled health class in my junior year for one day each week (I want to say that it was on Wednesday). As for why I am referring to my high school in the way I am, let it be said that I was not at all surprised when our first health class had no assigned teacher. No one arguably in charge seemed to notice, much less be particularly concerned about a “class” without a teacher.

Let me submit for the record that someone must have made the schedule.

But I digress. During our first health class, which lacked a teacher, I saw one of my favorite teachers in the hallway. The situation involving my health class was not at all his fault – he had nothing to do with my class that year or the schedule. I felt bad about flagging him down since I knew how this would end.

Long story short, he became our health teacher.

(He had run our current events class in the previous year and that had turned out to be a hilarious exercise. Health did not quite live up to current events, but it had its moments.)

In one class, my classmate – the same one who gave us a story about models and model-makers which I previously recounted in these pages – noted positively that a certain “Beyoncé” was the on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. All I knew about this Beyoncé character was that she was probably a singer or something – I think that was back when she was just a popular singer and not a cult figure who now inspires somewhat unsettling devotion from otherwise critical columnists and media commentators. But I digress. It suffices here to note that my classmate was all in favor of this development in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

My teacher, on the other hand, was nonplussed. I forget his exact quote, but it went something to the effect of:

I thought they used models.


A fair point. I think the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue once focused on featuring models in very small swimsuits before gradually transitioning to models in parts of swimsuits, models in no swimsuits, and finally various social justice issues which became increasingly detached from the Swimsuit Issue’s original lofty ambitions (I assume its original ambitions were to enrich the field of sports journalism or something).

But again, I digress.

I do not recall having joined in the Beyoncé-SI Swimsuit conversation because I had little to add to the subject. To the extent I was interested in the goings on at Sports Illustrated, it was in their NBA, college basketball, NFL, college football, golf, and tennis coverage, not the swimsuit models. Moreover, I had no strong opinions about Ms. Beyoncé. The only reason I remember the story is because my teacher’s matter-of-fact wondering why they had chosen a non-model to be in the magazine was amusing.

While I had nothing to contribute to this important discussion in early 2007, I would have something to contribute if I could use a time machine to go back in time and whisper a tip to my high school self. The tip would go something like this:

Tell [the teacher] that if he thinks that putting a singer in the magazine is weird, he will not know what to do with Martha Stewart being the cover model in 16 years.

Now imagine that I announced the future Martha Stewart news in class. Everyone would be confused. But I (being me in high school) would have been able to confidently assure everyone that I had insider information about future events.

I’ll let myself out.

(For the record, notwithstanding my punchline, my official position is that then-U.S. Attorney James Comey’s dogged prosecution of Ms. Stewart in 2004 and her ensuing prison sentence did not ultimately make the world a safer place.)

I conclude by noting for the record that my high school health class story was my first thought when I saw the Martha Stewart-Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue news. I hope that my little story lived up to its hook.