Shakin' It Up
by Denny Hartford
The scene is a high school cafeteria. A few friends are sitting around a table with their sack lunches. The scene opens on their conversation.
Abe: "Can you believe that guy? That was the most awesome presentation I think this school has ever had!"
Steven: "No kidding. This high school will never be the same since Mr. Tanaka showed up. Imagine the nerve of the guy?"
Teresa: "How did he get away with it in the first place? I mean, doing an all-school assembly about abortion from a pro-life perspective? That's impossible, isn't it?"
Steven: 'Guess not. He just pulled it off!"
Abe: "Well, here's the deal. Planned Parenthood has been in here to do assemblies every year I've been here, right? Yeah, they sometimes brought in some ditzy politician or somebody to say something completely bland and non-committal about abstinence, but everybody knows it's always the same deal. (He goes into a falsetto, nasal voice.) 'Use a condom, and our low-dose birth control pills, kiddies, and then when they fail (and they will!) you come to Planned Parenthood and we'll take care of you but good!'"
Teresa: "And didn't I have a heck of a time getting out of going to that deal- even with my parents' permission. Dr. Bell finally had to hear my dad threaten a lawsuit before he let me out."
Abe: "There you go. Well, from what I heard, that's exactly what Mr. Tanaka pulled. He had all this evidence about Planned Parenthood having a monopoly on these sex-ed assemblies and he insisted through some lawyers that they either kick Planned Parenthood out completely or they allow him to present an alternative view."
Steven: "And what an alternative? Man, he was electric! I mean, you gotta' figure everybody was expecting a boring sermon kind of thing and then Tanaka comes out and really shakes it up."
Teresa (Laughing.): "No kidding; how many of those kids guessed a pro-life talk would include quotes from Jack Nicholson and Mel Gibson?"
Abe: "Or that film clip from "Blade Runner." Tanaka really gave them a surprise presentation; that's for sure."
Steven: "My favorite moment was when he used Eugene O'Neill's play 'The Abortion.' Man, that was super-cool. I was watching Ms. Nelson-Rice and she was burning up. You know, O'Neill is one of her favorites and you could tell she hadn't even heard of that play!"
Teresa: "Speaking of surprises, what about when he was quoting all of those early feminists who were against abortion? That was great."
Abe: "And Marshall McLuhan! Who knew he was a pro-lifer?"
Steven: "Or A.C. Green and Mike Ditka and Phil Simms? I saw Coach Mallvern sit up and take notice at that part!
Teresa: "And then, after getting 'em up, he knocked 'em over with those references to the Koran, Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the Bible. Wow, you could feel the sense of tension in the whole gym."
Abe: "Even guys like Sally and Vince who are so pro-choice - they told me afterwards that Tanaka had really scored points. Sally was quick to remind me she wasn't changing her mind, and I quote, 'about a woman's choice being paramount,' but she did agree that being pro-life had a lot more going for it than she thought."
Steven: "Chalk up one for the good guys, huh?"
Terry: "Hey wait. You know what was the very best moment?"
Abe: "Yeah, I think I know what you're gonna' say."
Terry: "It was when Mr. Tanaka pointed out that in those Planned Parenthood sessions he had never been allowed to make any opposition statement or even ask any questions but that, for his part, he certainly wasn't afraid of open discussion and so he would gladly allow anyone to respond to his presentation..."
Steven: "...if, that is, when Planned Parenthood conducts their assemblies in the future, the same courtesy is allowed."
Abe: "And nobody moved! Man, you could have heard a pin drop, huh?"
Terry: "That quiet you heard in that gym, fellas? That was the sound of truth winning a round...and in a public school no less!"
Abe: "It was the sound of a bold Christian who'd done his homework and then took the risk of standing up for what's right!"
Steven: (Raising his milk carton.) "To Mr. Tanaka, a man who is shakin' things up for God." (All raise their milk and "clink" cartons.)