Ecochondriacs [13]

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Trevor Entertains Himself

Trevor and Eve were living in the DC area so he could get his MA in political science at the University of Maryland in College Park. The plan had been to start a family as soon as the Lord saw fit, but until that time arrived she was working for the senator and he was going to school. After that, he was thinking about law school because the law is “where a lot of the crazy is coming from.”

When they had moved from Choctaw Valley, Trevor had settled into his studies easily, and found that his full-time load, given his energy levels, was really only about half time, and be- cause his was a personality that was full of beans, with scarcely room left for even one more bean, he saw right away that he would have to find some edifying way to fill up the remainder of his time.

Inspired by some of the sting videos that O’Keefe and Daleiden had done, and also encouraged by the ongoing miniaturization of really high-quality camera and recording technology, Trevor had rigged up a high-tech baseball cap that would give him a quality recording of whoever he was talking to. And then, following an idea that had occurred to him in the shower, he had hit on the expedient of attending office hours for various professors at the university, whether he was enrolled in that class or not. If the class had over 200 students, it was a pretty sure bet that the professor would have no idea that he wasn’t in the class, and he could simply gather random footage of college professors saying outrageous things.

He had assumed, at the beginning of this noble enterprise, that over time he should be able to gather enough embarrassing footage to mug up a revelatory montage, and when he had three to five minutes’ worth, he could then load it up onto YouTube in the hope that somebody would notice.

But if he had been an explorer, hunting for a lost city of gold, he was about to walk into the El Dorado of embarrassing statements. Had he been a prospector, hunting for gold, he was about to stumble on a nugget the size of a softball, lying in the middle of the path in front of him.

Having checked on his precious tri-tip, and having fooled around with his smoker some, he  then  turned to  consider his schedule for the day. For the festivities of this particular afternoon, he had picked a mega-class taught by a Prof. Derek Laybourn, a man who was soon to become an Internet sensation. When he got to the place in the spacious hallway indicated  by the posted office hours, there was only one student ahead of him, and so he killed about fifteen minutes reading the cartoons on a neighboring professor’s door, about a third of which were at least somewhat funny. The rest of them hammered away at various leftist talking points like they were the spike and the cartoons were a nine-pound sledge. Ah well, Trevor thought, turning away. The left can’t meme, and the left can’t tell jokes either.

The previous student, his questions answered or at least allayed, exited abruptly, and so Trevor took out his phone, opened the app that ran his camera and mic, and started recording. He then stepped into the doorway of the office, and tapped on the metal frame of the door tentatively. “Come in, come in,” said a rotund and bombastic voice, sounding very much like someone named Derek Laybourn.

Trevor entered, somewhat slowly. His natural tendency was to bound into places, and, with Eve’s encouragement, he had been trying to correct that deficiency. It tended to startle people. The course that he wasn’t taking, but the office hours of which he was nevertheless showing up for, was called Climate Change and the Revolution Now. That had seemed promising. It had kind of jumped out at him when he was scrolling through the offerings.

Some people might think it dicey to go sit with a professor in his office hours in order to talk about a course you hadn’t heard one word of, but Trevor had the kind of personality that was energized by living on the edge. But it was only living on the edge the first few times he had done it. After that, he had it all figured out, and this was one of those subsequent times. Professors liked to talk about themselves, and so the key was to ask them to talk about themselves. This was particularly the case with Derek Laybourn. His was an advanced case.

And so Trevor opened the proceedings up, with disingenuous charm, “Professor, I just have one question, and then I shall be out of your hair. Trying to integrate a lot of concepts here. I wanted to ask what is, for you personally, the central reason for treating climate change as seriously as you clearly do. I think it has something to do with how you named the course. I am thinking about that word revolution.”

Laybourn swiveled in his chair, and reached for a shot glass of bourbon that he had put aside for the previous student. But confronted with a question about the meta like this, he decided he needed to resume his mid-afternoon second drink. The lubrication involved probably had something to do with the answer that kick-started Trevor into saying ohboyohboyohboy in the back recesses of his mind. But at the same time, Trevor’s exterior remained placid and earnest.

“Thank you for not coming in here to ask me to count how many years the koala bears have left,” Laybourn said. “And I can see from the way you phrased the question, that you have touched the central issue exactly.”

Lucky, lucky, Trevor thought. But it was not really luck. Everything was connected if you just thought about it for a bit, and looked for the connections. Once you learn the discipline of worldview thinking, Trevor had concluded, other people think you are psychic.

“The climate change issues really are irrelevant. Climate change might be happening, might not be, we might be causing it, we might not be, it could be beneficial, it might be detrimental, who cares? I sure don’t care. The polar bears can all go hang, for all I care. Some of the critics on the right are correct about that much, like that Locke pestilence. But what everybody seems to be missing, even some of the loyalists on our own side, is the relationship of cart and horse. It is not as though we are confronted with a natural disaster, and we on the left have come forward to offer the best of all available solutions to that disaster, that solution being our various proposals for climate change mitigation.”

“Brilliant,” Trevor said. “I suspected as much from something you said in your first lecture.”

Trevor said this encouragingly, without any qualms at all, having worked through all the Ninth Commandment issues for his senior thesis back at Choctaw Valley Bible College. Dr. Tom had even been on his panel, and gave him the high praise of saying that he, Dr. Tom, would have to think about the issue some more. Trevor had taken the line that the Hebrew mid- wives were onto a good thing in lying to Pharaoh, that Rahab had done right by sending the pursuers galloping off in exactly the wrong direction, and that David was not offending against charity by pretending to be insane, much to the exasperation of Achish. The way Trevor saw it, Americans were not yet in a shooting war, but the cultural wars definitely were a time of war.

It was a cold war, but a real one, and deception of the enemy was a legitimate tactic in war. Just think of Joshua at the second battle of Ai.

“Go on,” he said. “This is why I came to talk to you. Glad I did. I normally never go to anybody’s office hours.”

“Well, a quick study like you shouldn’t need to,” Laybourn said. He was very conceited to begin with, and also very smart, which needed to be shown off, and the bourbon had kicked in, deciding to do all in its power to help Trevor out. Unbeknownst to Laybourn, it was a Christian bourbon, named after the 18th century Baptist minister Elijah Craig. And it was a premium Christian bourbon, all in all, making it a good afternoon for Trevor.

“The crying need for revolution is the real disaster. That crisis has hundreds of symptoms, of which climate change could be one. I don’t care. If climate change turns out to be a big nothing, as some of the data suggest it might, I for one am willing to drop it like a hot rock. We can replace it instantly. It will be replaced by ten other crises, each of which will make the same point, that point being the absolute necessity of revolution. We haven’t had the revolution yet. That’s the crisis. That is the thing that will kill all of us. We do not reason from climate change to the revolution, but rather from the revolution to any cause that will help us toward that deliverance. And climate change will certainly do, but in the long run it is irrelevant. Climate change doesn’t really matter, and burning all the churches does. And if the churches burn, I don’t care about the carbon footprint.”

Laybourn’s eyes had gotten heated, not with anger, but with passion. He looked just like an end times speaker that had come to the Bible college campus once time during Trevor’s freshman year. Trevor had been in the front row, and had gotten a glimpse of that kind of fevered thinking close up and personal. No, thank you very much, had been his reaction.

Their visit went on for ten more minutes, with each minute getting riper and juicier than the previous one. Trevor was acutely aware of the fact that the pauses in the conversation were starting to get a little longer, and so, lest he wear out his welcome, he abruptly stood up.

“Well,” he said, “you have answered my question in full, and with something extra. You’ve given me a lot to think about it. I thank you, good sir.”

Trevor stopped at the bottom of the large staircase that went down to the main entrance in order to pull out his phone. He wanted to ensure that everything recorded properly. It had. Trevor then tugged on the brim of his cap and smiled. He was going to go home to Eve right quick, and display some of his male plumage. This being his lucky day, perhaps the evening would progress to the point of conceiving their first child.

But at almost the same instant, Trevor caught his reflection in a glass doorway across the hallway, and a little wave in the glass made his head look like a balloon. He suddenly laughed at himself. No, better not. Not like that, he thought. Don’t want a kid with a dad like that.

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Scott Zeilenga
10 months ago

No way! THAT Trevor & Eve?! Oh, this is getting good.

Jeffro
Jeffro
10 months ago

Nice! I like this little literary universe.

Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
10 months ago

They are known to some here, I see. Where have they appeared?

Joah Pearson
Joah Pearson
10 months ago
Reply to  Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
10 months ago
Reply to  Joah Pearson

Thanks! Do the events of that book happen before or after this?

Joah Pearson
Joah Pearson
10 months ago
Reply to  Kristina Zubic

Sure thing! The events of Flags Out Front come before this story. They introduce Trevor and Eve before they are married.