The Hipster’s Guide to the Galaxy, or The Importance of Being Earnestly Relevant

Kleinhut Paper Doll

Bible teacher Cal VanderMeer sat alone on a Monday morning, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee before school began. He had just opened the newspaper when the door to the faculty lounge banged open.

Cal looked up, prepared to scold P.E. teacher Rex Kane for another of his boisterous entrances, but he was stopped short by the sight of Jon Kleinhut standing in the doorway. At least, he thought it was Jon. The normally staid and steady librarian, Cal was convinced, owned a closet full of matching outfits—shirt, slacks, and striped tie—that he wore in a daily rotation unaltered since the Reagan administration.

But today, something had changed. Jon was sporting what Cal had heard students refer to as “skinny jeans,” though he was wearing the waist much higher than the kids at school. The cuff on his mustard-colored pants, hovering just slightly above his ankles, revealed black dress socks which disappeared inside neon-orange Chuck Taylor All-Stars. On top, he wore a red and black plaid flannel shirt and a beanie cap. His traditional striped tie was there, draped loosely around his neck like a scarf. The lone holdovers from his usual look were his decades-old, thick-lensed, horn-rimmed glasses, which, ironically, had come back in style.

Cal took this all in and stifled a chuckle. Just this morning, he had taught the verse from Ecclesiastes that there is truly nothing new under the sun.

“Don’t you start, VanderMeer!” said Kleinhut in his usual combination of a growl and a nasally whine. “It’s not like I enjoy wearing this clown suit.”

Cal held his lips together for a moment until he was sure they would not betray him. “Okay, I admit it. I’m curious. What’s with the get-up, Jon?”

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Jan Kaarsvlam is currently acting as a self described financial consultant to several Christian liberal arts colleges that have sailed into difficult financial waters recently. As a shrewd money-manager (his own description), Jan suggests that the colleges cut most of their arts education, classics, philosophy, and other frivolous majors from their curriculum and that they add football majors. After all, he muses, doing so will advance the institution’s mission to create well-paid and well-rounded professionals who spend Sundays planted on their couches and glued to their plasma television sets.