Slouching Toward Bedlam

Timid New World; or, Fear and Loathing in the Board Room; or, Childe Christina to the Dark Tower Came

Bible teacher Cal VanderMeer was sipping coffee and perusing the newspaper when his colleague, English teacher Christina Lopez, dropped into the seat next to him with a sigh so heavy that it actually ruffled the newspaper in his hand. He glanced up to see an expression he would have described as forlorn, perplexed, and angry all at once.

“What’s up, Christina?” he asked.

Before she could reply, gym teacher Rex Kane, who had just grabbed a gallon jug of some unnaturally blue beverage from the fridge, said, “Yeah, you look like your dog died or something.”

He took a swig straight out of the gallon container, wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, and then stopped movement all together and stared at her. He added in a soft voice, “Hey, man, do you have a dog?”

When Christina shook her head, he burst into a smile. “Whew!” he said, dropping into the seat across the table from the other two, “I was afraid I’d really put my foot in it.” He leaned forward conspiratorially and whispered, “Believe it or not, I’ve been known to do that.”

Cal folded his newspaper with great deliberation and swiveled in his seat so that he could see only Christina. He asked again, “Is something wrong?”

“There sure is,” she answered. “I was summoned to appear before the education committee of the school board last night to defend my teaching Brave New World. Some parents are accusing me of giving students pornography.”

“Aah,” Cal said. “One of the most banned books of the twentieth century.”

Now Rex leaned forward, intrigued. He cradled his jug, resting his chin on the top while he stared at Christina. He asked, “So this book, I’ve never read it. Is it . . . um, is it titillating? Kind of sexy?”

Christina tilted her head to the side and stared at him like he was a moron. “No, Rex, it is not.”

He looked disappointed. “Why are they upset then?”

“Because they’re morons!” Christina snapped.

Cal’s first impulse was to remind Christina that the members of the school board were good people, by and large, and that maybe she should talk to them and try to reach an understanding. But Cal had been around long enough to know that sometimes it was better to let people vent.

This is an abridged version of this article. To read moresubscribe to the print edition of Christian Educators Journal.