I saw him this time. It was another quiet Saturday in the office and I was trying to figure out a tough answer to a tough problem - 22 across on the crossword. A large shadow in the dimly lit hallway caught my eye. I figured Bigfoot had left the Ozarks or Appalachians or wherever he had last been seen or else it had to be John Hammer.

"Morning, Timmons," the Hammer growled. He had a voice that sounded like sandpaper rolling over a piece of bark.

"John," I nodded back.

The man called the Hammer came by once in a while. Usually it was to voice a concern. With a disposition as rough as his voice and as big as his size, he never failed to get my attention.

Something was different this time, though. There, under the permanent scowl, was just the hint of a smile. No, it wouldn't be a smile from anyone else, but for the Hammer, he could have been beaming.

"In a good mood today, John?"

He nodded. "Decided to start a business," he said. His eyes even had a twinkle.

"What kind of business?"

"Exercise," he answered. "But this'll be a different sort of exercise place. I'm pretty sure it's going to make me rich though."

There was that hint of a smile again. Had to admit, I was intrigued.

"See, the thing is Timmons, no one will have to work very hard at my place," he said. "People get those personal trainers and they pay a lot of money. In turn, the trainers make them work and sweat and suffer. Not going to be that way at my place."

That had me worried. Did Hammer have one of those magic diet pills that helped you lose weight . . . in the wallet?

"Well, John, how will this work then?"

"People will join through a membership fee and then they can either show up one day a week, seven days a week or none at all. That part doesn't really matter. We will tell them that because they are a member they will automatically lose weight just by belonging."

I didn't know what to say.

"And here's the best part, Timmons. We'll give them fast-food coupons and free donuts whenever they do come around."

I had gone beyond speechless.

"And if they don't lose weight, when they complain we'll tell them we'll extend their membership a few months to give everything time to really kick in."

"Uh, John, you don't really expect this to work, do you?"

"Of course not, you idiot," he said. "But it's exactly what our government is doing with our national debt and the debt ceiling. If it works for them, why wouldn't it work for us?"

And with that his smile turned into an outright laugh, one I could hear all the way down the hall as he wandered away again.