Teddy, Harry, and Barry tied for class president this year. They decide the meals eaten by the children, and the chores to do during free play. Their votes must be unanimous.
Harry and Barry always wanted the kids to have to polish their trophies, and one day when Teddy was sick, Nancy filled in and voted to make that a chore. Most of the kids hate that chore.
Teddy got sick of it and announced his new plan, which the school paper called Teddy’s Starvation Plan. Under Teddy’s Starvation Plan, the usual variety of meals and desserts offered by the school would be replaced by a healthy regimen of the sort that kids hate. Nothing but unflavored fish and chicken, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This was actually the school’s backup plan in case the class presidents could not agree. Teddy decided to withhold his vote for the usual menu until the trophy-polishing stopped.
Teddy’s Starvation Plan was very unpopular — more so, even, than the trophy-polishing chore.
Barry and Harry loved it. “Teddy doesn’t want you to have your cheeseburgers. He won’t let you have your chocolate brownies. And little Timmy has a special menu because of his dietary needs. He will actually get sick because of Teddy.” Barry and Harry didn’t really care about any of this. Secretly, they wanted to bring back the giant tubs of lard the school made available every Tuesday and Thursday. Everyone knew the tubs of lard were horrible for you, but oh! how Harry and Barry loved it!
Teddy said: “Forget the trophy polishing for a second. Let’s talk about the food. I’m fine with giving the class the cheeseburgers. They can have brownies. And let’s get little Timmy his special menu right away. I don’t want him to get sick. Surely the three of us can agree on that.”
Harry asked: “Why would we want to do any of that?”
The school paper asked kids whether they agreed with kids being starved, and who they blamed for the starvation the school was experiencing. Talking with their mouths full of grilled chicken, they said they didn’t like Teddy’s Starvation Plan and they blamed Teddy. Teddy tried to explain to the school reporter that it’s not really a starvation plan at all, and everyone is eating just fine, but Stella, the school reporter, walked right past him like he wasn’t even there. Teddy grabbed her and said “what about Timmy?” but Stella just pulled away and scowled. (Stella, you may have guessed, is friends with Harry, Barry, and Nancy.)
Harry and Barry said Teddy was trying to pit Timmy’s special meals against Doris’s strawberries.
Harry and Barry said they wouldn’t talk about anything — not cheeseburgers, not brownies, and not little Timmy’s special menu — until the usual menu returned. Barry invited Teddy to a meeting and said that if Teddy would agree to vote for the usual menu, they could all sit around a table, eat bowls of lard, watch the kids polish Harry and Barry’s trophies, and talk about whether there was anything they might do.
After all, Barry said, I’ve always tried to work with you, Teddy.
“Yeah, Teddy,” said Harry. “Why won’t you take yes for an answer?”
Stella thought that was a great line and wrote it in her spiral notebook to include in her next article about Teddy’s Starvation Plan. “Teddy Won’t Take Yes for An Answer As Starvation Continues” would be the headline.
Timmy’s not looking so well. But Harry and Barry are still smiling.
Will the kids ever figure out whose fault it is that they aren’t getting the food they want?
Will they ever figure out that the diet they have is just fine anyway?
Only time will tell. Teddy has handed over power to Johnny, though, and I have to say, Johnny looks nervous. He cries a lot and I don’t know if he has what it takes to see it through.