Nov 18, 2013

Dan and I Fight Evil-Lution

When I was in eighth grade at Washington Junior High, my boyfriend Dan and I registered for “The Rocks in Your Backyard,” an introduction to earth science.. We loved learning about the shallows and shoals of the Mississippi, the Devonian upheaval of the bluffs, the quarry in Carbon Cliff where, a few years ago, two boys were chased by a eight-foot tall Sasquatch with reddish-brown hair all over its body.

But then the teacher started claiming that this or that rock formation was millions of years old, when God’s Word said that the world itself was only about six thousand years old.  Maybe the  skeletons dug up in Mongolia were remains of dinosaurs drowned in Noah’s flood, or maybe they were forgeries that Satan created to tempt us. Either way, Evil-lution was a slap in the face of God. (I had gotten considerably more fundamentalist since I was eight years old, and happily played with a Cave Man Toy Set).

When we discovered that a whole week of Rocks class was to be devoted to an attempt to brainwash us into believing Evil-lution, we decided to hold a protest march. Darry joined in – he was a liberal Lutheran, but he loved any opportunity to make a scene.

We also recruited two Pentecostal boys, two Nazarene girls, and Micah, from the Bible Missionary Church, which broke away from the Nazarenes because we were too liberal (see: Holding Hands with a Bible Boy).

On the day of the protest, we brought signs reading “No Evil-Lution” and “Believe God, not Satan!” and sequestered them behind a floor-to-ceiling poster in the Art Room (the same room we would use for streaking later).  Then we went to our classes as usual.  Just before the Rocks class, we retrieved the signs, waited until the bell rang, and marched up and down the hallways, chanting “No Evil-Lution!” and singing a song from summer camp:

I’m no kin to the monkey,
And the monkey’s no kin to me.
I don’t know about your ancestors,
But mine didn’t swing from a tree.

It worked: dozens of students left their classrooms to support us, or to skip boring lectures, and by the time the principal and guidance counselor ducked their heads out of their offices, the halls were thundering with stamping feet and clapping hands and “No Evil-Lution! No Evil-Lution! No Evil-Lution!” in the brash mid-day sun.

Most of the protesters scattered at the first sign of authority figures, and the rest got off with detention, but as the “agitators of student unrest,” Dan and I had to listen to the principal lecture on “respecting authority” and the guidance counselor ask if there were any problems at home. We were suspended for three days, and I was grounded for a month:

1. No hanging out with Dan except at school.
2. No working on my heroic fantasy novel with Darry.
2. No science fiction novels or tv.

Somehow science fiction and protest had become interrelated in my parents’ minds: the urge to “stir things up” was caused by my exploration of worlds beyond our own.

It didn't work.  I still saw Dan and Darry, by telling my parents that I was visiting some other friend.
Dan and I decided to run away to Saudi Arabia.  And I would be doing even more disobedience in about two months by streaking through the school assembly.

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