Letter from the Editor

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Why Iowa should ban the hammer

Veteran Iowa state legislator P. Dewey Frickinbottom wobbled into the senate chambers, reasonably sober and prepared for the big health issue debate of the day:?should the state give local governments the right to declare "The Ban..."

On people hitting themselves in the head with hammers.

"Huh?"?says our man Frickinbottom - "Does it take legislative action to do that? Don't people know they will kill themselves if they are hitting themselves in the head with hammers?"

"Of course they do. I've seen people hit themselves in the head with hammers even after they've watched their own parents and grandparents die from hitting themselves in the head with hammers,"?says the majority leader, Sandra Swayn-DeVote. "It's a habit, I suppose. You hit yourself in the head with a hammer when you get up in the morning, you hit yourself in the head with a hammer to settle your stomach after every meal. You do it at first because hammering looks cool and all the Hollywood types hammer. Pretty soon you have a four-peck hammer in the head a day habit."

"You don't say,"?Frickinbottom says. "And the only way we can get people to be smart enough to give up hitting themselves in the head with hammers is to pass a law that lets the towns ban hitting yourself in the head with a hammer in a public place?"

"Looks that way,"?DeVote says.

"Won't people just hit themselves in the head at home instead?"

"Probably. But we added another buck to the hammer tax. So at least we'll be able to balance the budget on their carcasses."

"Extraordinary,"?hums Frickinbottom. "Do the Republicans know about this?"

"Oh indeed - I've heard that Rep. Rassinfrassin likes to hit herself in the head after sex, which, I'm sorry to say, means the old minx's developed forearms like a blacksmith,"?DeVote whispers.

"Well, at least if the cities ban hitting yourself in the head with a hammer in public places, there may be less second-hand hammering for people to put up with,"?Frickinbottom muses. "I don't know about you, but it's dang hard for me to enjoy a good filet mignon on a lobbyist's dime, when some joker's in the restaurant selfishly hitting himself in the head with a hammer."

"I have to admit, there's nothing worse than trying to hide from a budget bill in the bar at the Marriott - the air is just thick with the ringing of hammers. It takes three washings to get my clothes and hair clean after that."

"Hrrrumph. I?wouldn't know about bars..."

"Come off it, Frickinbottom. You spend so many nights at the strip club out on the interstate that the state auditor has been paying your salary in dollar bills."

"Let's change the subject, dear DeVote. Which side are you going to be on in the hammering yourself in the head ban debate this session?"

"I?don't know. It costs public health a fortune when people won't quit hammering themselves in the head, but on the other hand, if people really want to hammer themselves in the head, I'm not sure the state has the right to tell them they're wrong."

"Yes, and I suppose people will just drive to the border and buy up cartons of cheap hammers in Nebraska. That'll hurt all the local businesses that deal in hammers in Iowa."

"True, but Governor B.G. Lug hit hammering hard in his campaign. He's stubborn. The man's all about health, you know,"?says DeVote.

"Maybe, but speaking of habits, it looks to me like he's hammered a few Pizza Ranch buffets."

"Not a dent in his skull, though."

"So, are you going to walk in the Relay for Not Hammering Yourself in the Head this summer, DeVote?"

"I?would, but a lot of voters hammer, and when I run for Congress someday, I?may need those big campaign dollars from the hammer companies."

"With all of the studies and education about hammering yourself in the head, I?wonder why people still go on insisting on hammering,"?Frickinbottom muses aloud.

"Maybe it's for the attention,"?DeVote says. "All the big politicians in Washington go to old-boy-network Hammer Clubs to enjoy a big, thick after-dinner sledgehammer, and all the chic supermodels stay thin by chaintapping those skinny little tack hammers in the trendy clubs."

"That doesn't make much sense,"?Frickinbottom says.

"This is government. It doesn't have to make sense,"?DeVote replies. "Now, if you'll excuse me, the vote's coming up soon, and I?want to slip down to the cafeteria to grab a quick pound in the noggin first."

"You too, DeVote?"

"I'm afraid so, Frickinbottom. I've tried to quit hammering, but even the patch doesn't have much of an impact. So I?do hammer, but I?don't recoil. Care to join me?"

"Of course not, I think hammering is a disgusting habit."

"Suit yourself, but don't you dare try to take away my tools."

"One more question,"?DeVote. "If hammering yourself in the head is killing so many people in Iowa, why are we here talking about letting cities try to do the dirty work, instead of having the kahones to ban hammering ourselves?"

"Because voters hammer, you fool. They're killing themselves, but it might not happen in time for the next election."

Frickinbottom turns and waddles away. Suddenly, his head hurts. And not from hammering. This business of legislating good sense isn't as simple as it ought to be, he thinks.


Isn't having a smoking section in a restaurant like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?