Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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May 6, 2021

Hammer time on instant information

I was answering e-mails Saturday. In an earlier column I mentioned that I had four regular readers. Imagine my pleasant surprise when several e-mails pointed out that I was being too modest. Heck, there just might be as many as eight, maybe nine of you out there!
Thank-you notes seemed appropriate. But since I'm too cheap to buy a stamp when an e-mail will do, I was busily pecking away at the keyboard . . . and didn't notice John Hammer walking in until his shadow blotted out the sun. I didn't know if we were experiencing an eclipse or if my eyesight was going.
"Timmons," he nodded.
"John," I nodded back, somewhat relieved not to be having a heart attack. The four, er, eight or nine of you may recall that John Hammer is a mammoth-sized man who somehow manages to get into the worldwide headquarter of the media empire we are becoming - when we are closed. Still haven't figured out how he does it. And since no one else is around, I've usually got the tunes cranked up and might even be singing along once in a while. So when I finally do notice him, well, let's just say that my reaction could win some money on America's Funniest Home Videos.
So it was that this time was a relief.
"What brings you out on this chilly Saturday," I asked.
"Global warming."
Once again, the Hammer surprised me. I never took the grizzly ol' feller for someone who would be interested in ecological issues.
"Wow, John, that's really good. I have to say-"
"No you idiot. It's 14 degrees outside. I was making a joke."
"Timmons, I think you need to use your newspaper to tell people to take a cue from Aaron Rodgers and R-E-L-A-X."
(For the non-sports fans of you eight or nine, Rodgers is the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers and made headlines a few weeks back when he told nervous fans to relax - and then went out and played like a world beater while leading his team to five wins in six games.)
Since I trust Hammer more than a quarterback, I was ready to sit back and chill. I just wanted to know why.
"Everything has to be right now," Hammer said. "If someone sends an e-mail and they don't get a response in an hour, they want to know what's wrong. If it's a text and they don't hear back in a minute, they lose their mind. It's ridiculous."
"Well, sure, John," I smiled. "That's just the way of the world today. We live in an instant information society and-"
"I know where we live, Timmons," Hammer growled. "That don't make it right. In fact, it makes an awful lot of things wrong. Real wrong. My grandpaw used to tell me to think before I opened my mouth. He said that I'd probably regret what I said if I reacted too quickly. And you know what? He was right. Where's that being practiced today?"
"Gee John, I-"
"Used to be it was common courtesy to return calls the next day," Hammer said. "We need to get back to that . . . and you need to tell people to think before they talk, or text, or tweet, or whatever it is they do now. Tell them to stop and consider what they want to say. Consider what they should say. Consider what they need to say."
Like always, the message was delivered and Hammer headed out. I sure wish I knew how he was getting in here.

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