Success Wars, or The Shop Teacher Strikes Back

Slouching toward Bedlam is the continuing story of a Christian school just like yours, only more so. We invite you to join their story and follow the characters from issue to issue and they grapple with the issues, problems, and triumphs at Bedlam Christian. It is written by Jan Karsvlaam, a retired Christian School teacher who currently owns and manages an emu farm in South Dakota.

Rex Kane, Bedlam’s P.E. teacher, stood at one end of the teacher’s lounge, practicing for an object lesson on the evils of water fluoridation. A glass pitcher of pristine ice water sat before him, with a can of motor oil next to it. Shop teacher Gord Winkle was half-listening while foraging for leftovers, anyone’s leftovers, in the fridge. Bedlam librarian and resident conspiracy theorist Jon Kleinhut leaned in intently, nodding as Rex spoke. Carrie Wellema, the choir director and perhaps the only fully functional adult at the table, sat with a bemused expression on her face.

“This is your water,” Rex said, holding up the pitcher. Beads of cool sweat glistened on its clear surface. He set the pitcher back down, grabbed the oil can, and began to pour it into the water dramatically. “And this is your water on drugs. Fluoride, my young friends, is a drug.”

“Fluoride is not a drug, Rex,” said Wellema. “It is a mineral, and it only strengthens your teeth.”

“That’s what the government would like you to think!” Jon Kleinhut said, with perhaps more intensity than Wellema’s casual comment called for. Carrie shook her head and turned back to her newspaper.

It was at that point that Bedlam’s development director, Amanda Stufflebean, bustled into the room carrying a clipboard, two notebooks, what looked like a set of blueprints, and a three-ring planner stuffed beyond its capacity to contain even a tissue paper more. Shop teacher Gord Winkle’s eyes opened wide and he sniffed once, then asked, “Hey, Amanda, do you have any extra chocolate for the rest of us?”

“What are you talking about? I don’t have any chocolate with me!” She loudly dumped all of her materials on the table. A single M&M candy shot from between the pages of her planner and spun to a stop on the table in front of Gord. He smiled triumphantly and popped it into his mouth.

“Well, well, well,” said Rex. “What brings our little philanthropist-o-phile to our little cabana-in -the-woods amid the eager youth of Athens, Ms. Stufflebean?”

Amanda had long ago adopted the common practice of shaking her head and ignoring Rex like the rest of Bedlam Christian’s staff did. But this time she realized that somewhere in that morass of allusions and mixed metaphors, he had actually asked a question. “Actually, Rex, I am trying to pull together a newsletter article about where our successful graduates end up. We really don’t track this as well as we should, but I figured the faculty would know where some of our graduates are and what they are up to.”
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