I’d read the story and couldn’t quite get a handle on it all. My gut told me that it was a case of a dumb idea taking hold in the minds of good people and blinding them to the harsh light of good sense.
Still, I needed to check that thought and I knew there was only one person I could turn to.
I found Mudrock, my personal muse, scooping a load of bacon grease into his frying pan to cook his regular three-egg, ham and cheese omelet.
H. B. ("Hardboiled") Arnold - a skipper we’d known in our seafaring days - had introduced him to this culinary delight and Mudrock had taken a long-lasting liking to it.
"I’m guessing that you don’t subscribe to the current theories on cholesterol, clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks, and low fat diets do you, Mudrock?"
"Heard about ‘em, but I think I’ll keep eatin’ whatever I choose long as I don’t go overboard on any of it. Truth be told, Lar, a person could die by drinkin’ too much water even if it came from a green bottle with a fancy name on the label."
"Still, you might want to think about getting rid of that can of bacon grease."
"Didn’t you mention that your mother was turnin’ 85?"
"She still have her can on the stove?
"Case closed. Now, you here for a reason or did you jus’ come to try an’ get me to join the twig eaters out there?"
"I was wondering if you’d read about those teachers in Tennessee who scared the daylights out of a group of sixth graders?"
"What’d they do, tell ‘em that they couldn’t bring them I-Pods or cell phones onto school grounds?"
"Good Lord, no, Mudrock. That wouldn’t have scared them. That would’ve caused about half of them to go catatonic, half to start whining, and the rest to riot."
"Lar, you usin’ that new math they teach? You got a couple too many fractions in there, son."
"Well, you get my point. What happened was a couple of teachers had some sixth graders out on a school trip and one night, as a prank, they decided to fake an attack by a gunman."
"Probably wasn’t the best idea they’d had that day."
"Agreed, Mudrock. Seems they should’ve thought the prank through in light of the recent Virginia Tech incident."
"Kids got scared?"
"You bet they did, Away from home. Night time. Lights off. Everyone hiding. One teacher dressed up in a hooded sweatshirt trying to get through the locked door. A bunch of kids thought they were about to die. Some of the parents were pretty upset when they heard about it."
"So, what’s your take on it?"
"Good judgment. Failure to exercise"
"Old rule we had in the service, Lar. Covered all of the ‘dumb’ stuff that wasn’t covered by all the other rules. Sounds like these folks went an’ put good judgment on the back burner when they hatched this one.
"I thought so too."
"An’ it sounds like they forgot to consider the headlines."
"Whenever you’re about to go out an’ do somethin’ like this, it’s always a good idea to stop an’ think what the headlines will be if it all goes wrong. Bet the headlines on this one were purely unpleasant."
"So what happened to ‘em?"
"Well, the school principal ended up suspending two teachers without pay for the rest of the school year."
"But then she began using some of that New-Age, touchy-feely jargon."
"What’d she say?"
"Something about ‘My hope is that we can learn from this and, in the end, it will have a positive result of growth for all of us.’"
"No bottom to that kind of talk. Good thing she didn’t launch off into that ‘closure’ stuff – whatever the hell that is. Principal I had would’ve held a meetin’ with all concerned, told them that he’d handed out a world class butt-chewin’ to go along with the suspensions, an’ that nothin’ like this would ever happen again. But that was back when principals were tougher than chewed leather."
"But you think the suspension without pay is about right for these teachers?"
"I reckon. That an’ the embarrassment of havin’ their names up in lights for doin’ somethin’ so dumb should be a lesson that holds their - an’ a whole lot of others’ - attention.