How a children's novel tells the truth about politics

Last year, my son was really into the "My Weird School" book series written by Dan Gutman. I used to read some of these books with him, alternating pages. They are very lighthearted and funny. The titles, which all rhyme, give you a sense: Miss Daisy is Crazy, Mrs. Roopy is Loopy, Mr. Docker is Off His Rocker, etc.

One of the books, Mr. Burke is Berserk, features a character named Mayor Hubble who at one point announces his plans for balancing the budget. Little did my son know as we were reading this part how true to life this piece of fiction is. Considering especially some state governments in our country right now, it's almost too true to life to be laughed at as satire or fiction. Depressingly, shockingly, amazingly true to life. Here is an excerpt.


"Cuts!" Mayor Hubble shouted into the microphone. "We need to cut the amount of money we spend so we can balance the budget!"
Just saying the word "cut" seemed to make Mayor Hubble's eyes light up with excitement. He had a crazy look on his face, the kind of look that evil geniuses in the movies have when they explain how they're going to take over the world.
"The first things we're going to cut," Mayor Hubble told us, "are the art and music programs."... "You kids are here to learn," said the mayor, "not to sit around drawing pictures and singing silly songs"...
"From now on the teachers will have their pay cut in half," the mayor continued. "You teachers make way too much money"...
"But we hardly make any money as it is!" yelled Mrs. Yonkers, our computer teacher.
"What do you teach?" Mayor Hubble asked Mrs. Yonkers.
"I'm the computer teacher."
"Well, you're fired," said the mayor. "I'm replacing you with a computer. A computer should be able to teach a computer class much better than a human being anyway"...
"You crybaby teachers should be thankful you have jobs at all," said the mayor. "Oh, and I want the coffee machine and the hot tub removed from the teachers' lounge."
"We don't have a hot tub in the teachers' lounge!" said Mrs. Jafee.
"You don't?" said the mayor. "Hmm. Then put a hot tub in the teachers' lounge and then take it out...After we get rid of the hot tub in the teachers' lounge," he said, "get rid of the tables and chairs in there and sell them on eBay."
"Do you expect the teachers to sit on the floor?" asked Mr. Granite.
"Yes!" said Mayor Hubble. "It will be like a picnic every day. You like picnics, don't you?...Come to think of it, why do you teachers need a lounge anyway? You don't have time for lounging around in hot tubs and having picnics. This is a school, not some beach resort."
"But we don't have a hot tub!" yelled Miss Laney, our speech teacher.
"Not anymore you won't," said the mayor. "Not after I get rid of the one we're putting in. All these cuts will help us balance the budget. And when the voters see how much money I saved, they'll vote to reelect me in November."
"Are you going to take a pay cut too?" asked Mrs. Jafee.
"Don't be silly," said Mayor Hubble. "I'm giving myself a raise for coming up with these great ideas to save money!"

No comments:

Post a Comment