|Hammer tired of all the talk|
Have you ever been so engrossed in something that you more or less zoned out, oblivious to any and all around you? That was me the other day. Sitting at my desk, pondering life's great mysteries - like what the hell happened to the Colts Sunday and exactly what form the apocalypse will take if zoning is ever adopted in Montgomery County?
"Where you been, Timmons?" John Hammer asked, seemingly out of nowhere.
I must've looked like the cartoon cat. One minute on the floor and the next dangling from the ceiling.
For those who haven't met the mountain of a man called Hammer, he infrequently finds his way to my office. Usually on a Saturday. Usually when no one else is around. Always quiet as a church mouse - until, that is, he scares the living bejeezus out of me.
"You know, one day you're going to give me a heart attack," I muttered. "And then who would you scare?"
He ignored me.
"You know what's wrong with this country?" he asked.
The answers - and punchlines - were endless.
"I'll tell you what's wrong," he continued. "Talk. We've made talk more important than action. It's killing us."
"Well, sure, John," I answered. "But we need to work our way through the issues and-"
"That's my point," he shot back.
"We talk Timmons, we spend all our time talking - even when there's nothing to talk about. Look at the so-called presidential race. We've been hearing about this for months and yet we haven't even had the first primary yet. Used to be you didn't hear much of anything until the primaries and the conventions. Now it's 24-7. No wonder no one votes anymore. By the time November rolls around we're all sick to death of it. And that's not all," he said.
I didn't interrupt. When Hammer was on a roll it was best not to.
"When the time for talk is over and it's time for action, too many folks continue to talk."
He looked at me. I wasn't sure why, but it felt like I was in trouble.
"Take your local politics," he said.
"All I hear is griping. Folks don't like this, they don't like that. Hell, Timmons, you had a piece in your paper yesterday about the evils of government spending, from a political party boss."
"You mean the opinion piece from GOP Chair John Pickerill," I said. "It was about-"
"I know what it was about, Timmons, I read it."
"Did you play sports Timmons?" he asked. "Back in school?"
"Uh, sure, John. I played-"
"What happened when you lost?"
"Well, I was disappointed and-"
"No. What'd your coach tell you?"
"I guess they usually said that they were proud-"
"I'll bet they told you that if you didn't like losing to quit yapping about it and work harder," he said. "That's what made this country great. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. And when you lose, that's when you learn that if you want to win next time, work harder. Know what else?"
I had nothing.
"They told you that talk was cheap and that if you really want something to work for it. My granddaddy used to say that whatever you did spoke so loudly that he couldn't hear what you were saying. That's a lesson we forgot. Doesn't matter if it's sports, politics or some sort of FacePage thingy. Everyone just wants to talk."
I didn't bother telling him it's Facebook.
"If you want to do something about it, do more than talk. Talk is cheap. Talk doesn't make it happen. Work at it. That's what we need. More work, less talk."
He walked away. I had a feeling that he was right. Not that it would matter.
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