Not too long ago, in a small suburban California town not far from San Francisco,
Mr. Maximillian Ouia, principal of this town’s only grammar school sat in a cushy chair in front of his staff.
His icy look ran from man to woman and back again.
Wringing his hands, Principal Ouia said grimy, “Folks, our school district has a crisis, a financial difficulty.
Frankly, this school is low on dough. And owing to this sorry situation, I must make drastic cuts in our curriculum."
Pausing, Maximillian took a long drink of cocao from his brown mug. His following words
would no doubt astonish his faculty of forty instructors, aids, and custodial staff.
"From now on, this administration forbids you or any of your pupils from using that fifth symbol our ABC's.
His staff sat aghast. Nobody said a thing.
“Anyway, to avoid confusion, I’m talking about that non-consonant following D and prior to F.
This symbol I'm banning has many phonics sounds and is found fifth in a dictionary. From this point on,
no individual in this school can say any word containing that mark, look at it in any book, or put it in writing.
You will omit that thing totally from your classroom, in our hallways, and on our playground.”
“But…but…but!” sang out Mr. Zucchini, who was an instructor in Room Six. “Isn't that an impossibility?”
“I quit,” Miss Asparagus, a classroom assistant, sang out.
“Appalling! Shocking!” said Miss Pistachio, a librarian. “I must throw away most of my books.
Your policy, Mr. Ouia, will allow only books with illustrations in our library stacks.”
Mr. Rutabaga, a custodian, put in, “Discombobulation! I should start changing signs on our
school doors right away with bit of black paint! Luckily Xit will still work.”
Up until this point, Miss Anastasia Avocado, Room Four’s instructor, had said nothing.
This young, blond and trim woman had only taught at this school for six months and usually didn't say
much among this group.
But now, surprisingly, Miss Avocado burst out, “But this is ridiculous!
Impractical! How could cutting that particular non-consonant possibly bring
bright about any financial savings to this school? In my opinion, sir, your proposal sounds nutty.”
Principal Ouia ran a hand through his thin, oily hair. “Actually, Miss Avocado, it our
school district school board who insists upon this ban. And for your information, madam,
using that popular mark at this school costs a colossl amount. It’s found in too many workbooks,
on almost all vocabulary lists, and occurs in too many handwriting drills. Think of all that savings in chalk and ink.
“But can't you cut an activity that's not so important?” said Miss Avocado. “That non-consonant
is vital to my instruction.”
“Last month I had to drop music including chorus and band,” Principal Ouia said with a sigh.
“Prior to that I cut art and gym class. Accordingly, Anastasia, my hands stay bound."
“But how can our kids accomplish anything in class?” said Miss Avocado practically shouting.
Mr. Ouia swung his chair around. “Madam, control your outbursts! In a crisis you must try to do what you can.
Without that costly symbol, contrary to your opinion, our school board thinks your scholars will do satisfactorily
with minimum handicap. Why not just work with A,B,C,D,F.G.H.I.J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X, Y and Z?
Now, staff, this discussion is through. You may go back to your classroom."