ShAggie Jitterbug
Home Up The First Shot


The Infamous Texas A&M-SSQQ Trademark Snafu!
Written by Rick Archer

On Saturday, July 10, 1999, I was in a bad mood. I had just finished teaching a Crash Course for an obscure dance known here at the studio as the "_____  Jitterbug". 

There were only 10 people in the class, the bare minimum for a class to be held. In fact, earlier in the evening I had considered canceling the class when I saw how few people there were.  I only hesitated because one young lady, an A&M graduate, begged me to continue. She said she had been trying to teach her boyfriend how to do this dance for months, but couldn't explain it to him without hurting his feelings. I smiled and said I would go ahead and teach the class.  However once it was over, I made a mental note to put this class in the closet and stick to offering classes that actually made some money for us.


With this class on the deep backburners, you can imagine my shock when I received an email on February 4, 2000 from an A&M alumnus named Stephen Huzar which accused my dance studio of EXPLOITING his Alma Mater by teaching the "_____  Jitterbug"!

Ever since Mr. Stephen Huzar fired the first shot in his stunning email to me, I tried to tell the A&M community that we meant no harm.  My words fell upon deaf ears.  There would be no peace pipe.  Our dance program was treated as a major threat.  A&M University, aka TAMU, could not idly sit back and risk being exploited!!  

Forced to act quickly before SSQQ had a chance to mobilize and strengthen, TAMU dropped a huge legal bomb on the studio. 

And just what exactly was all the fuss about?  And how did this sordid saga begin?


In his letter Mr. Huzar wrote these immortal words:

Should you not refrain from using the trademarks, quite honestly, I (and Iím sure many other Houston area Forbidden Words) would find it a blatant act of greed on both the part of SSQQ and Leisure Learning magazine and rather disgusting that you would contribute to end the noble act of raising scholarships for worthy students.

 

Well, that got our attention!

What the heck did we do wrong?  After investigating the matter further, we discovered we were under attack for the crime of using a WORD connected to Texas A&M University without permission.  We were said to be guilty of exploiting the University by invoking a TRADEMARKED WORD.

Unaccustomed to being accused of Greed, as a goodwill gesture, on March 25th, SSQQ held a Benefit Dance Class in honor of the "beloved dance" of Texas A&M.  This event not only attracted over 40 people, it generated a nice check in the amount of $500 for Texas A&M.  The studio did not keep a cent lest we be accused of further greed.

 

The A&M Benefit proved to be useless. The very next day SSQQ received a threatening letter from a Michigan law firm. The letter said in very strong language that SSQQ was infringing on A&M trademark rights. We would be sued by the University for our crime unless we stopped using the Forbidden Word immediately!

Give me an A: The entire idea behind the Benefit had been to show A&M graduates  that I actually liked their school and preferred to be a friend to the school.  However my efforts failed obviously failed miserably.  Just one day after the Benefit was held, I received a nasty letter from a prominent Michigan Law Firm threatening to sue SSQQ for its "Serious Trademark infringement!!

Give me a
GYes, indeed, we got a "Cease and Desist" order!

Give me another
G The threat hit home quickly.  We were deeply intimidated!!   


Give me an
I:  Call us gutless, call us cowards, but the truth is, we panicked and threw in towel faster than you can say "Dixie Chicks".  

Yup, you guessed it, lily-livered lollipops that we were,
SSQQ caved in.  Faced with fight or flight, we started flapping our wings just as fast as we could!!
Give me an
E  Who wants to be sued by the limitless pockets of a State University over a class that generates at most 100 bucks a year?   Would you fight?   Some things aren't worth fighting over. 

We agreed to NEVER EVER
willingly use the "you-know-what" word in our literature or on our web site again.  

 

And what were the consequences of our decision? 

Our agreement to Cease/Desist meant that for the remainder of time immemorial, w
e had to come up with a substitute phrase to replace the "Forbidden Word". 

Henceforth we had a new dance at the studio, the wildly popular Shaggie Jitterbug.

Our gutless collapse meant that Texas A&M was now safe from the insidious SSQQ threat.  Graduates of this fine University throughout the great State of Texas breathed easier.  Perhaps the worst threat since the Cuban Missile Crisis had passed without blood being spilled.

In retrospect, this
was not a difficult "Cease and Desist" request to comply with.  After all, at the time we received the letter, SSQQ had not held a class in "Forbidden Word Jitterbug" in over six months!!  Nor did we even have another class planned!  

As I pointed out at the start of story, this class had made so little money for us that I had accidentally "ceased and desisted" long before we were "insisted" to do so.  It isn't difficult to throw in the towel when the towel is already in the recycle bin.

 

But why was Texas A&M so worried about our dance activities?

Ah, therein lies the tale!!  

But before continuing, we must apologize to our readers.  How can you truly appreciate how great the danger was to A&M without knowing what is the "Forbidden Word" is??  

The "Forbidden Word" is crucial to the entire story!!

 

 

Therefore, you should begin by solving the "Riddle of the Forbidden Word".  Like ancient Christians hiding from Roman persecution, SSQQ is unable to speak the word. But using techniques learned from the "Da Vinci Code" we have been able to hide somewhere on this page an obscure clue to the meaning of the FORBIDDEN WORD. 

Please - if you discover what it is, don't tell anyone!

And if you can't find the clue, well, that's too bad.  After all, it is hidden very well.  We simply cannot risk a lawsuit!

But if you were able to decipher the Riddle of the Forbidden Word, then you have in your possession the magic key to an amazing story. 

 

So now we invite our readers to continue. In the following pages, you will discover the
inside story behind the Texas A&M-SSQQ Trademark Snafu.

Click Here to begin reading the incredible sordid Shaggie Jitterbug Saga!!

Shaggie Home Shaggie One Shaggie Two Shaggie Three
Houston Press Story Shaggie Four Shaggie Five Shaggie Six
Letters to Editor Shaggie Seven Shaggie Eight Shaggie Nine

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