Riff Raff, by Michael Tilley
A heartfelt message to you, U.S. Sen. John Boozman, is to go away.
Just for a few months. And not because we don’t want you around; it’s because we’d like you to be among the living for many years to come. The folks I grew up with over in Johnson County would say you are “good people.” And we need all the good people we can get on Capitol Hill.
Look, we know you’re back at home and that the doctors who returned order to your aorta say you are doing “amazingly well.” But perspective requires us to note that you’re doing well after a serious dang surgery to fix what is often a fatal malady. Fatal, as in a millimeter change in that aorta rip or if any number of a thousands things would have gone differently, and we might be wondering what high school would be named after you.
The message we received Monday (April 28) from your office was that the doctors sent you home and you are “under doctor’s orders to rest” as you regain strength. Well, if there is anything we know about doctors, Dr. Boozman, it’s that doctors are often the first to disregard such orders.
We know you think you’ll just stay at home for a few weeks and piddle around, but we also know that your definition of rest and piddling is not likely the definition to which most folks subscribe. Frankly, I have doubts as to your ability to rest. You may be good at a lot of things, but I’d bet that you suck at resting. From a high school football star in Fort Smith to a Razorback football starter to being a husband and active father and then a co-owner of a successful eye clinic and serving on a school board and on to several terms in the U.S. House and now the U.S. Senate, you’ve never NOT been moving at 90 miles an hour.
Which, on a side note, seems ironic considering the speed at which you talk. I’ve heard you take 14 minutes to deliver a one-minute speech. Am not complaining, mind you. Heck, I grew up in Arkansas and realize that the slow talkers are often the fast thinkers.
But back to you going away.
Please do. Your staff can handle things for a few months. We’re not sure how you’ll go down in Senate history, but you should get high marks for putting smart people around you. And if the Senate does anything substantial between now and Nov. 4, well, heck, bring on the Obamacare because we may all need heart surgery from the shock.
Sure, you’ll get bored just resting around the house. To fight the boredom, go to Hulu or Mediaite and catch up on some really funny clips of John Stewart and kittens, or babies laughing hysterically at dogs eating popcorn. They say laughter is the best medicine, and if your aortic stitching can take it, all those aforementioned things should elicit a hearty chuckle from even the most seasoned and serious Senator.
If those don’t cause your endorphins to push down your blood pressure, go to YouTube and search for “Don Rickles Dean Martin Roasts.” If that doesn’t do it, then we suggest you check with your doctor to make sure that during the surgery he didn’t accidentally remove your funny bone.
And if you may travel, might I also suggest you go away to some of the nice cabins at Lake Fort Smith. Watching the sunrise and the sunset from one of those cabins would literally do the heart some good. Ditto for Mount Magazine Lodge. Queen Wilhelmina State Park could certainly rest a busy soul. Or there’s Mather Lodge at Petit Jean. If you aren’t able to relax at any of those places, your relax button is as lost as Amelia Earhart’s plane.
Or you could head down to Lake DeGray and watch for bald Eagles and listen to the pulse of Arkansas’ nature as your own pulse works to heal that previously fouled up aorta.
Or you could … well, you get the message. Go away. Rest at home or rest somewhere, but go away and don’t worry about us Arkies for a few months. We’ll be fine.
There is no question we voters and campaign workers can get a little silly and huffy with our political labels and electioneering posturing. And we in the media love more than anything to make fun of a Gov. Rick Perry when he forgets his third point, or marvel at just about anything that comes out of the mouth of Vice President Joe Biden. But we also wouldn’t wish ill health on Rick or Joe – although I might take some guilty pleasure to see them get a pie in the face – and we certainly aren’t going to think bad about a U.S. Senator who flies under the radar for a few months while the MAIN pipe to his heart mends.
In fact, if you come back too soon and the aorta decides to do a clown balloon impression in your chest wall, then I might seriously question your judgment.
Fortunately and unfortunately, respectively, there will be other groundbreakings and natural disasters at which your presence is requested. But if this state can survive going winless in SEC football, then we can likely survive a U.S. Senator laying low for just a few months.
So, with all due respect, sir, go away … and get better.