|Someone hammers point home|
One minute I was singing at the top of my lungs about wild, wicked women of the west with the Wright Brothers Overland Stage Company. Next thing I knew I was hyperventilating and hoping the heavy pounding in my ears was from the bass in the speakers and not my heart.
John Hammer, the behemoth of a man, had once more managed to find his way into our closed office on a Saturday morning without making a sound. You don't suppose Sen. Phil Boots gave him a key, do you? That Sen. Boots has some sense of humor.
"For the love of God, John, can you please try to give me a warning or something?"
"Glad you mentioned God, Timmons. Do you believe in the 10 Commandments?"
"Look John, I love you like a brother and everything, but I don't think my singing is so bad it's going to send me to hell."
He didn't even crack a smile.
"C'mon," I tried. "I'm just kidding. But really, and no offense, I'm not looking for a lecture on religion today."
"Didn't come to give one," he said.
"OK, then I'll bite," I sighed. "Yes, I believe in the 10 Commandments."
Hammer stepped in and sat down on one of the chairs. It creaked loudly. It's made of steel.
"Don't kill, lie, cheat on your spouse, steal, idolize the wrong things, curse using God's name or yearn and crave things. And do be good to your parents and give God his due on Sundays," Hammer said, neatly summing up Nos. 6, 9, 7, 8, 1, 2, 3, 10, 5 and 4.
I had no idea where he was going with this, but I was getting a little uncomfortable.
"Whether someone believes or not, seems to me we can all pretty much agree on most of those, right?" Hammer said. He didn't wait for an answer. "But it also seems to me that we see examples every single day of lying, cheating, stealing, killing, people who idolize material things and people who spend all their time wishing they could have or do something else."
"Sure, John. All you have to do is watch the news for that. But what's your point?"
"I'm just saying that we all want to bitch about Trump or the Democrats or whoever's side you're not on when the problems we have in this country are a lot more basic. All I've heard about since Friday is how Trump and the Republicans lost real bad on health care . . . tell me something, Timmons - what the hell does our government got to do with my insurance? Why is this a government issue? What is - "
"John, hold on. I get where you are coming from but the thing is, when someone goes to the hospital and can't pay their bill, it hurts everyone because - "
"Why does it hurt everyone?" Hammer boomed. "When did government turn into another name for handouts? I'll tell you when, Timmons. It happened when we as a people decided that the rules didn't apply to us anymore. We don't have to be responsible for our own lives. We don't have to tell the truth. We don't have to work hard. We don't have to play by the rules, because when we don't, Uncle Sam will take care of us. And the more he takes care of some of us, the more others wonder why they work so hard. So then some of them stop and . . . "
He paused to take a breath. He looked tired.
"Timmons, I'll tell you this. Life isn't that complicated. I get it that some people want to make it hard and complex and all kinds of stuff, but at the end of the day it really is pretty simple. You work hard. Tell the truth. Do the right thing. Sometimes that ends good. Sometimes not. Life isn't always fair. But it is what it is and we've got to stop trying to make it so that everyone gets a trophy and a shiny medal. We've got to get back to people getting what they deserve, what they work for. Everything starts with the basics."
Hammer stood up (I swear the steel chair exhaled). He walked away. He made his point.
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