Tuesday, January 17, 2017

FOUR THINGS (Why Bart Hester is right)

In the early ‘70s I worked as a front-end loader operator on the overnight shift at a rock quarry. During planting season the place was open 24/7, mostly to crush and sell ag-lime. But there really weren’t that many trucks that came in after midnight so there was plenty of time to kill. A lot of that was spent in the scale house, playing cards, planning the perfect bank robbery, and telling lies with my best buddy, another heavy equipment operator named Slisher, and our guru – a bald headed welder we called Eli.
Through much philosophical discussion and introspective investigation, we arrived at the conclusion that there were only three things in the world that a man truly needed: beer, women and money; and, if a man had any two of these, he could easily obtain the third.

Now, in today’s world, this may come off as insulting to some, and even misogynistic. But I don’t think that word was yet invented then. If it had been, I’d never heard it; and if I had (being a teenager who ran a loader in an Arkansas rock quarry overnight in the early ‘70s – as previously revealed), I wouldn’t have cared. We all knew we liked the womenfolk.
In all the 45 years since those days, I have never had the occasion to sit down and re-examine this philosophy. Three things.

Now comes an Arkansas lawmaker named Bart Hester who has determined that there is a fourth necessity.  He’s introducing a bill into the legislature to provide a “Second Amendment Weekend,” allowing for the sale of guns without any state sales tax. Given that pretty much everything else in Arkansas is subject to sales tax – including food, clothing, used automobiles – it can only be assumed that ol’ Bart has identified guns as that fourth thing that all men must have to survive.
Guns? Who’dda thunk of that back in the day? That was a given. We all had guns. Everybody had guns! Once one guy had all the poker money; and we’d figured out how to get away with robbing a bank; there was nothing left to do but go out into the quarry and shoot stuff. Guns weren’t as dangerous back then as they are now, so it was OK. And we knew that little house where we kept the dynamite and blasting caps was bullet-proof, because we’d spent a whole OSHA-mandated weekend making it that way. So it was cool.

Thinking it over, though, Bart may have a point. Using the same rationale with which we arrived at our own philosophy, it does make sense. If you had a gun, you could get any of the other three necessities, the same way you could use any two from the previous list to get the third. So, the gun, it could be concluded, has more power than any of the original three items. With a gun, you could actually get anything you wanted without paying sales tax!
Food? Humbug! Sure, you need it to survive, but with a gun you can just go out and shoot you some food, like Jed Clampett. See, it doesn’t work the other way around. It’s almost impossible to take a gun away from somebody by using a pork chop. Believe me, I tried. And don’t get me started on peanut butter sandwiches.

Clothing? Walk into practically any apparel shop in the state holding a loaded hogleg and I bet they’ll give you anything you want … even a new belt so you can strap that bad boy on your hip when you walk back out. New jacket. Nice hat.
A used car? No problem! They do it in Little Rock all the time. Not one dime in sales tax! Hell, go ahead and get a new one. You can load it up with all the beer, money, and women you can haul, drive out to the rock quarry, and see if the boys in the scale house will let you play poker with ‘em!

Thanks, Bart. You’re a gem!

© Rick Baber, 2017

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