When I was young, which really seems like a long time ago, I kind of shook my head at my parents and their fondness for music from the 1950s. Guess I never really saw the attraction to it, plus I never understood why they liked living in the past and not getting with the groovy sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
I get it now.
It’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy Saturday mornings. I can turn on a playlist from the aforementioned decades and get all kinds of work done . . . and whistle while I work, so to speak. OK, perhaps I do a bit more than whistle. But hey, no one’s around to hear my off-key wailing, so what’s it matter?
Enter John Hammer. The hulk of a man who would tower over Paul Bunyan appears seemingly out of nowhere. One minute me and Paul McCartney are singing about holding your hand and the next – there’s the familiar shadow of John Hammer standing in my doorway. Forget hand holding. Anyone know CPR?
“Let me either catch my breath or just get this heart attack over with and I’ll be right with you, John,” I said – forgetting for a moment that he’s twice my size.
“Why do gay people need protection?” he started. “Why do blacks or other minorities?”
Wow, going from heart attack in one moment to political suicide the next?
“Why can’t we just have laws that say it’s not OK, let alone legal, to assault anyone, whether it’s physical or verbal or whatever,” Hammer growled. “Oh wait, WE DO!”
The Hammer can be demonstrative when he wants.
“The law defines where the lines are – so why should it be different for one group or another?”
“Well John, anything that is construed as a hate crime should –”
“Oh bull hockey!” the big man nearly spat. “Until we decide that we’re all in this together and everyone is a ‘protected class’ then nothing is going to change. I’ll tell you what, Timmons. Right is right and wrong is wrong. It doesn’t matter what ‘class’ you are. We are turning into a country more worried about offending someone than about treating everyone right. Why is that?”
Oh, he wanted an answer. “Uhhh . . . ”
“I’ll tell you something else,” he went on. “When did we decide that you don’t have to work for what you get?”
Again, the waiting.
“Or when did it become that I have to pay for what you get? We have one free government program after another. Some of us were raised on the idea that you got what you worked for, that you were responsible for yourself. When did that change?”
He barely took a breath.
“When I grew up socialism was right there with communism and communal farms. And I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t a good thing? When did that change? Did the laws of economics get reversed so that socialism works now?
“I listen to these politicians,” he said, making the word ‘politicians’ sound like something the cat spit up. “And I don’t mean the local ones. I mean some of the state and most of the national idiots. That Cortez woman wants everything to be free – and she’s going to pay for it all by taxing rich people. Look, I got no truck with rich people, but if it’s OK to take things away from them without their consent, how long until that starts slipping down to my level?”
Fair point.
“I’m telling you Timmons, we are on a pretty damn dangerous path in this country. The basic things that used to mean something – the idea that if you worked hard enough you could make something of yourself, and the idea that patriotism was important – those aren’t just gone . . . folks consider them immoral, for crying out loud. The communists have to be laughing their tails off. And that whole idiotic term, politically correct? This country was a hell of a lot better off before that term was ever invented.”
He turned. I thought he was leaving. He stopped.
“There was a time when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy said we should ask what we can do for the country, not what the country can do for us. That’s gone, Timmons. Long gone. And we’re the worse for it.”
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesday in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.