No truer expression was ever coined than “Be sure your sins will find you out,” especially if you’re running for public office.
GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson can attest to that assertion. Now the nation is asking itself, “Can a man who in his youth attacked his mother with a hammer and stabbed a friend with a knife effectively serve as the leader of the free world?”
In the remote possibility that I might run for public office – constable or dog catcher – I have been researching my past for misdeeds that might be used against me in my campaign.
I’ve decided to lay it all out on the table in advance.
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I must have been 12 or so when, along with two boys who lived across the highway from us, we caught their mother’s prize Rhode Island Red rooster and sneaked off with him to the nearby country store, where we traded him for an orgy of candy and chewing gum.
For weeks afterward, the rooster’s owner would say wistfully, “I wonder whatever happened to Big Red,” to which we would murmur, “I bet that old chicken hawk made off with him.”
Also, while waiting for the school bus every morning, we kids would throw rocks at the truck load of defenseless young men from the Civilian Conversation Corps on their way to do maintenance work on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I was eventually punished for that offense.
One day after school, I lay on a quilt under a tree in the front yard reading a book.
The truck transporting the CCC contingent back to camp pulled over. I ran for my life toward the house as I was pelted with a rain of rocks from the truck’s angry, jeering passengers.
Actually, my youth was so crime free, I’m almost embarrassed.
The audacious statement above reminds me of a classic exchange between my niece and her husband, Ann and Joe Ellen, who live nearby.
We were discussing how we deal with occasional insomnia when Joe boasted, “I sleep like a baby. I guess it’s because I have a clear conscience.”
“Honey,” his wife responded, “I suspect that it’s a short memory rather than a clear conscience that allows you to sleep so well.”
So it may be that my past was more wicked than I remember because of my short memory.
I’ve decided to forgo running for any office this time around.
Since Adam and Eve in the Garden made their first attempt at composing short stories such as the one about the snake, writers have indulged in analogies, i.e. comparisons of two things that are otherwise unalike.
Mastering the art of analog, though, sometimes can be overdone.
Here are a few winning entries I’ve saved from those submitted by English teachers in a Washington Post contest for “Worst analogies ever written in a high school essay:”
▪ “McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.” (Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring, Md.)
▪ “From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and ‘Jeopardy’ comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.” (Roy Ashley, Washington, D.C.)
▪ “Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.” (Jennifer Hart, Arlington, Va.)
Treats like the above are what help English teachers retain a sense of humor when they’re burning the midnight oil marking student essays.
I had lunch recently with a good friend whom I had not seen for some time. During our conversation I learned that last year on a train to West Palm Beach to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, his wife had fallen and broken her leg.
The train stopped in the middle of nowhere and she was removed to a hospital. As the nurse disrobed her, she commented on the all-black underclothes the wife was wearing.
Dave said that when he was relating the account of the accident later, a friend asked why his wife was wearing all-black underclothes.
“Because she’s an optimist,” he quipped.
Overheard in a foothills restaurant: “He’s the kind of man who would climb a tree to tell a lie rather than stand on the ground and tell the truth.”