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Wielding wisdom and a cleaver

By G.D. Maxwell Once upon a time, in a land far away, there dwelt a king named Solomon. Solomon – Solly to his friends, of which he had many – was king of Israel, which was located pretty much where it is today but was a lot larger.

By G.D. Maxwell

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there dwelt a king named Solomon. Solomon – Solly to his friends, of which he had many – was king of Israel, which was located pretty much where it is today but was a lot larger. Solly got the king gig from his daddy, David, who had also been king but was forced to resign for health reasons. I think he died.

Anyway, Solly was not only king, he was one bad party dude. Solly’s parties were legendary. They made the Extremely Canadian Pimp & Ho party look like a Ladies Who Lunch tea by comparison.

Heck, Solly’s life would have passed for a pretty wicked party. Dinner at his house consisted of about a hundred sheep, thirty oxen and a whole lot of venison and foul every single day. Needless to say, Solly was a bit on the porky side.

Of course, you have to put all that food into perspective. Solly was feeding a lot of people each day. He had, give or take, seven hundred wives, another couple hundred concubines and children far too numerous to accurately count. There were, according to ancient Israeli census records of the time, more youngsters named Solomon Junior than any other name in the land, including the ever popular Shimon. Remember too, this was way before Viagra.

As though this harem wasn’t enough, Solly also passed his love around to those with no official palace status. It was written he loved many strange women, which was a code for foreigners. Probably the most famous of these was the queen of Sheba, mother of Little Egypt, creator of the Hoochee Coo, founder of a long line of belly dancers. She came to Israel to witness Solly’s wisdom. Had she been a man and lived 2000 years later, she would have said she read Playboy for the articles. Whatever.

Aside from the fact he kept over a thousand women satisfied – already you have to wonder about the factual truth of Solomon’s legend – he wrote about a million proverbs, composed top 40 hits and ruled over a peaceful Israel, a state of bliss never known again in that breeding ground for terrorists.

He also built a grand edifice atop the holy Mount of Moriah, above the city of David. Solly called it the House of the Lord, which was what his daddy called it whenever he talked about building it himself, a task he never seemed to get around to. Everyone else called it Solomon's Temple and it became the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, which Steven Spielberg turned into gold and two very successful sequels.

But I digress. The real reason Solomon is known today is because he changed the spelling of his name and went on to become a major player in the ski business. Okay, I made that part up. Actually, Solomon is known today for his wisdom. The story is told of two harlots – a term of endearment for women back in the olden days – who were brought to Solly’s Hall of Judgment bickering with each other over which one of them was the mother of a kid. I think his name was Solomon Junior.

They couldn’t agree and wouldn’t stop fighting each other so Solly said they’d have to split the child between them. They were both happy with this outcome, thinking he was referring to joint custody with alternating holidays. But when he ordered one of his guards to cleave the child in half with his sword, the harlot who was obviously lying said, "Good idea." The other one said, "You must be kidding. Let the bitch have him." Solomon was wise enough to know this harlot was the kid’s real mother and gave him to her. He gave the other one a job as concubine number 301, which meant he lavished his lovin’ on her every third Thursday in July of even numbered years.

The point of all this – if it really has to have one – is that we sure could use the judgment of Solomon right about now. Instead, we’re going to have to rely on the judgment of our local school board to draw the boundary lines between the old primary school and the new primary school and decide who gets to go to which school. The only outcome any of us can be sure of is this: someone’s going to be very, very disappointed.

Two of the five proposals would, for example, have kids who live in Emerald attend the new school. Three of them would hold the same prospect out for kids living in Alpine. While the distance would be shorter than the bus trip secondary school kids used to endure to Pemberton before Whistler got its own high school, the fallout would be far worse. The new school will be at the south end of town and anyone trekking that direction to get their child who stayed after school for an extracurricular program would be spawning in the après ski traffic. Thus, the trip could take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours and make an already bad situation worse. Not to mention we’re talking about young kids, not high schoolers.

But this is clearly a many-horned dilemma. Anybody living north of Myrtle Philip can argue the irrationality of bussing their kids right past it to travel another half hour south. Yet, various of the proposals would see kids from White Gold and Spruce Grove and Nick North, as well as Alpine and Emerald, do just that.

Equally understandable would be parents caught on the wrong side of a dividing line that would send a kid living on one side of Blueberry to Myrtle Philip and her friend on the other side of the street to the new school.

But lines have to be drawn. Kids have to be bussed. Schools have to be smaller. The challenge will be to blend these realities into the community’s unusual geographical layout, our principles of sustainability and the gross reality of southbound après ski traffic.

Without presupposing the outcome or buying into the belief voiced by some that the decision has already been made, I would simply suggest the timing stinks. To float the proposals at the end of November and announce a decision will be made in early January doesn’t give parents already scrambling to deal with the start of ski season and Christmas holidays much time to assimilate, let alone respond to, the options.

Solomon might have decided something like this on his own but the school board really ought to hold some public meetings if they want to have any hope of more parents buying in to the outcome.