Alex McRae Column

Fear This

by Alex McRae

Never in this nation’s history have so many been so scared of so much. 

Al Gore disciples fear the world will burn to a cinder. Parents fear that if their children don’t choke on a Christmas toy, they will be pinched by a faulty playpen, develop poor math skills or suffer low self-esteem because they were forced to play a sport that keeps score.

Adults fear losing their livelihoods. Recent college graduates fear moving out of their parents’ basement and getting an entry-level job. Recently, I heard about a man who was scared to death of gravity. Really.

The U.S. may still be the land of the free but that “home of the brave” thing is history.

This trend turned serious in 1973, when Erica Jong wrote a book called “Fear of Flying.” It had nothing to do with airline safety. Jong’s book assured women that it’s OK to be a teeny bit scared of exciting new things like group sex. 

A sequel to Jong’s book is now being written in Great Britain. Let’s call it “Fear of Flying Flapjacks.”

Talk about a cultural about-face. From July 1940 to May 1941 Hitler’s bombers flew over London nightly, determined to reduce that grand city to rubble. Did the Brits cower in fear and beg for mercy? No. They huddled together in London’s underground subway stations and when the bomb runs ended, they swept up the streets, buried the dead, treated the wounded and went about their business. 

And now those once-brave Brits are fearful of flapjacks. 

In certain parts of Britain, “flapjacks” are plate-sized pieces of dough packed with granola and grain, baked to toasty perfection, then cut into pie-shaped pieces and served to limp-wristed little weenies. 

Recently, a food fight broke out in the cafeteria of the  Castle View School in Essex and kids started chunking the triangular treats. During the brawl, a food fighter was struck near the eyeball and ran screaming all the way home.

His “injury” did not require even minor medical intervention. But fear that students could be harmed during subsequent food fights struck terror into the hearts of school administrators.

Instead of cracking down on food-throwing heathens disguised as students, the school bosses ordered triangular flapjacks banned in the interest of student safety.

Kids will still get their flapjacks. But they will be cut into square shapes considered “safe.” (Unless a British math professor points out that square flapjacks have more pointed corners than their triangular counterparts.)

Since I’ve never been assaulted by a weaponized breakfast food, I’ll remain silent. Mostly to keep from laughing.

Not all parents were pleased at this show of spinelessness.

One said, “I wonder if carrot batons will be prohibited from now on.” Another parent jokingly asked if school officials believed that mashing potatoes encouraged violence.

I’m wondering if students will be required to get a background check before they are trusted with broccoli spears.

Sadly, some parents don’t realize that pointed corners on flapjacks aren’t near as big a threat to students as school administrators who think this is a smart move.

Once upon a time the British were noted for “stiff upper lips” and their resolve to overcome any challenge. Now the descendants of those who helped defeat Hitler are frightened of a flapjack.

Not that things are much better in America. Recently, a US student was suspended for gnawing a Pop Tart into the shape of a pistol. What’s next? Banning books? After all, they have dangerous corners, too. 

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