In a Sow’s Ear 9-27-10
The Great Protectors of Health and Safety never rest. They are on watch 24/7 keeping you and me from hurting ourselves, falling ill or suffering a bad attitude.
Recently I listened to a speech given by Senator Pompous Bombastic in which he claimed he plans to introduce a bill to have a particularly dangerous item – one found in most households – banned.
I became intrigued and turned up the volume on my radio. What could this menace be?
“A common tool,” said Bombastic.
Whatever awful thing was he talking about, I wondered. Common tool? Had I been unwittingly exposing myself to possible peril out of ignorance?
Due to the senator’s standard governmental grandiloquence, I had to listen for several more minutes before he finally put a name on the dangerous gismo.
“I,” droned Senator Bombastic “am introducing a bill to ban hammers.”
“Hammers?” I muttered to the radio. “Did he say hammers?”
“These instruments,” continued Pompous Bombastic, “in the wrong hands can cause swelling of smashed thumbs, fallen arches and sore toes when dropped on feet and damaged furniture from misfire.”
“Well, yeah,” I told the radio, “but you gotta admit, hammers come in pretty handy.”
Almost as if he were replying to me through the radio, P.B.’s voice burbled on. “Harmless appearance is the hallmark of this treacherous implement. Under the guise of apparent usefulness, it attacks and destroys. Only last week, vandals broke into a jewelry store by smashing in the plate glass windows with hammers. For the public good, these threats to safety should be banned. I have scientific documents proving that hammers can actually kill.”
“Oh, yeah?” I said to the radio. “How so?”
Bombastic cleared his throat, then lowered his voice for dramatic emphasis. “One night in Clancy’s Bar and Grill, a hammer went berserk due to a difference of opinion between Mr. Delaney and Mr. O’Toole. Delaney split O’Toole’s skull with a hammer.”
“Did that settle the argument?” I asked the radio.
“Mr. O’Toole was taken to the morgue and Mr. Delaney is serving time in the penitentiary. Sadly, two lives were ruined all because of a hammer. I say, ban them. The public has a right to protection.”
Figuring I’d heard enough foolishness for the day, I started to turn off the radio when Pompous Bombastic added the magic words: “Banning hammers will help the country achieve economic recovery in these unfortunate times.”
“Oh, come on now,” I said, sneering at the radio.
“Developing substitute pounders will create jobs and encourage small businesses. Of course, it will take some time to convince folks to give up their hammers. It will, however, be the hammer owner’s choice. He or she can retain a hammer provided he or she pays a registration and licensing fee, passes a training course in how to use the tool, and wears a seat belt and hard hat while employing the said device.”
“Is this a comedy show?” I asked the radio.
As if he heard my comment, Pompous Bombastic continued, “A government overseer to the program will be appointed. Setting up a hammer-banning management team will require 4 bazillion dollars in stimulus money, but in the long run, banning hammers will pay off in lives saved, health improved and we’ll all feel better. Feeling better is a right.”
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