It’d been a while since I’d seen my pal John Hammer. Perhaps that’s why he was on my mind Saturday morning. Or maybe it was just a coincidence. Don’t know. All I do know is that I came out of the bathroom and saw him a few feet ahead of me walking toward my office.
“G’morning, John.”
He stumbled a bit.
There are moments in life that provide a pleasant surprise. This was one of them. After all the times he has nearly given me a heart attack, showing up when I least expected it . . . I mean this is John Hammer, for crying out loud. He’s a man bigger than a mountain with hands the size of catcher’s mitts and a voice deeper than the rumble from a ’67 Chevy missing a muffler.
“’S’matter John,” I smirked. “Scare you?”
“Nah, just tripped.”
Whenever the man called the Hammer stops by he usually has something on his mind. This was no exception.
“Let me ask you a question, Timmons,” he began. “Did you pay attention to this past election?”
I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or serious.
“Uh, yeah. At least until the Braun and Donnelley ads made me turn the TV off and go to bed.”
Didn’t even slow him down.
“How come we can’t seem to count votes?”
“John, I think our folks at the courthouse do a great job. They were done really quickly and- ”
“No, not here,” he snapped. “I mean in other places, especially Florida. Why is it that there always seems to be a problem in the same places?”
Got to admit, didn’t have an answer for that one.
“How hard is it?” the big man nearly spat. “Hell, we used to do this with chalk and blackboards. With the big fancy computers today, how is this difficult?”
“Well John, I think- ”
“It’s not that hard,” he said. “But it always seems like it’s the same places and it always seems like it’s the liberals screaming.”
“Look, John I- ”
“Let me ask you another question, Timmons.”
Did I have a choice? “Sure John, go ahead.”
“Aren’t the liberals and so-called socialists screaming for free health care?”
“Uh, well, John, I think that is- ”
“Answer me this. Aren’t those the same folks banging the drum for free tuition? Don’t they want the minimum wage to be something like $15 per hour? Aren’t they demanding lower housing costs? And isn’t their answer that the government will find a way to pay for all of it?”
I had nothing. Again.
“Last question, Timmons,” he said. “How is it that they expect our government to find answers to almost impossible situations and yet these same folks claim our government is too incompetent to count votes?”
I swear he almost looked smug as he turned and walked away.
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at