From the Hammock honored by KPA

  • Keith Smith
    Keith Smith

Editor Keith Smith likes to spend time in his hammock and thinking till he dozes off. Those thoughts generally end up as a column and KPA gave those musings a third place award for Best Columnists for his From the Hammock series.

The three articles submitted are below.


One of the joys of being a dad

There are many joys of being a dad. One of the very best is the groan-inducing, eye-rolling, hilarity of dad jokes. My family will tell you that I am a master of them.

My children would sometimes not even know who they were and I had to remind them. They would tell me “I’m hungry and I’d answer, ‘Hi, hungry. I’m Keith.”

Dad jokes are philosophical and can bring life lessons enveloped in humor. There’s a chance they can offer that age old question. I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I’ll let you know.

You can learn mathematical skills from a dad joke. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Circumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

They can combine history, biology and grammar. Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom? Because the pee is silent.

There can be a sense of law and justice in a dad joke. If you see a robbery at an Apple Store does that make you an iWitness?

Even more science is in a dad joke. Don’t trust atoms. They make up everything!

It’s important to know our world and dad jokes help that. What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.

Dad jokes change up as technology and aware of performing arts. What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1

Dad jokes provide consumer protection. Why wasn’t the woman happy with the velcro she bought? It was a total ripoff.

Dad jokes can help with losing weight. Why did the teddy bear never order dessert? He was stuffed.

And dad jokes can help me end this column. What did the buffalo say to his son when he dropped him off at school? Bison.

There is also advice in dad jokes on how to win an argument with me. Wait till I’m in my ham-mock cause there I’m easily swayed.


Yes, there is a racism problem in Pendleton County

    In high school, Bob Myers did the production The Music Man and a line from one song has stuck with me over the years.
    “Well, ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say trouble right there in River City.”
    Many watch the peaceful protests being hijacked by rioters with looting and burning of business and see it as a big city, Democrat problem.
    As Professor Harold Hill sung, “We’ve surely got trouble! Right here in River City.”
    We have racial problems right here in Pendleton County and it is our responsibility to address it and fix it.
    The story above highlights the racial actions that can happen to law-abiding, community supporting residents in our county.
    In June, I reached out to 10-12 people from a myriad of races and life stages to get some feedback for what I had hoped to be a series on issues that are in our county.
    Only Dontaie Allen responded. I applaud the young man for that courage.
    There are racial undertones in our county. They are unacceptable.
    When the local convenience stores went under new   management,   how many thought  or  heard  a   comment   about   the nationality of the new owners? There were many unacceptable comments made simply on the new owners nationality.
    We are better than that.
    I reached out to Pendleton Countians who were uncomfortable making comments about their experiences growing up because they are in a comfortable place now and did not want to stir it up.
    I can tell you as a young basketball coach, I had to deal with a player disliking his teammate simply because of the color of their skin. That dislike festered because of their parents feelings.
    I was a young coach and looking back now, I wish I would have handled it more forcefully as I did when similar issues arose when I was an alternative school teacher. Students love to share the thoughts that they hear and learn from home.
    We are better than that.
    There are people who try to use the Bible to justify hatred and I reject that stance. The Bible clearly says repeatedly that people of all nations will rejoice in Heaven. You might have missed that but it said ALL NATIONS. That is races, countries, etc.
    We are better than that.
    Recently, we are all dealing with the effects of Covid but for adopted students of Asian descent to be repeatedly asked if they were the one who had brought the virus to this country, is plain idiocy. You are a moron if you have uttered these words to a child who has been living here for more than a decade and you thought it was funny.
    We are better than that.
    Racism is not solved by government. Racism is not solved by politicians, actors, sport stars, or any of the things we see on television.
    It is solved in each of our households. It is solved in our conversations and the comments that we allow silently without stepping up and challenging the idiocy of racism.
    It is solved by that person you see each morning when you look in the mirror. THAT is where we solve racism and the person that is vital gets on board and does not accept racial and inappropriate actions and comments.
    We are better than we are now. Let’s be that person and community and not look for others to be the solution.
    We are the solution.


Have we seen the end of the handshake?

    The handshake has been a staple of our society for years.
    It is a symbol of greeting.
    It is a symbol to consumate a business deal.
    It can give the impression that you are dealing with a strong person who will be a tough one to negotiate with or you can trust.
    It can give the opposite impression of weak and a pushover.
    For many, you practice the art of the handshake as you prepare for a job interviewe.
    But it also can be a major transmission of disease.
    When my son, Jonah, and I attended Reds spring training literally the week that everything in the world went to heck in a handbasket, the Reds players joked with the assembled media that instead of doing a “high five” they were going to shake their feet.
    There is no way I am coordinated enough to try and shake someone’s foot with my foot.
    Social distancing and the notion to not touch each other has put a kibosh on the handshake over the past months.
    “Because this is a pandemic, because there is virtually no population immunity, and because we know that people can transmit while being either presymptomatic or showing minimal symptoms, every handshake that you have runs the risk of exposing you or the person you are shaking hands with to the virus,” said William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
    “Handshaking is just one of the ways that we are more likely to become infected, and so it’s a really easy thing to remember to do something else,” said Hanage. “There are multiple different options that are available to say ‘hi’ to your friend that don’t entail getting quite so close. Because every time you are getting close, you might transmit to them, or they might transmit to you.”
    Historians indicate that the modern sense of greeting via handshake did not appear until the mid-19th century. In human history, the handshake is still in the toddler stage.
    President Donald Trump is a self-professed germaphobe and is no fan of the handshake.
    In a March press conference, the President commented on the handshake.
    “Maybe people aren’t going to be shaking hands anymore,” Trump said, adding that he had discussed the practice with Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “He was saying the regular flu would be cut down by quite a bit if we didn’t do that, if we didn’t shake hands.”
    Back to the question of will the handshake be another victim of Covid-19?
    From my observation, it depends on the generation.
    Since things have been reopening, I have found that the older generation still thrusts that right hand out to shake my hand. Sometimes, they catch themselves and sometimes they say the don’t care, they handshake on a deal or to say hi.
    The middle and younger generations rarely make the motion to handshake.
    Possibly, they are becoming more awared of  the dangers of transmitting diseases via the handshake and not just Covid-19.
    What are the options available to us? Well, the foot shake is a no for me.
    I remember the forearm bump from Mark McGwire during his home run rampage but honestly, that is still skin-to-skin contact. Same with the fist bump.
    If people wore hats, the tip of the cap might work. Maybe a tip of an invisible cap would be appropriate.
    I don’t see the bow coming back although it might be the most hygenic as it can be done for several feet away.
    If it was left up to me, it would be the bird. No, not that one but instead both arms outstretched, flapping them wildly, and cawing loudly.
    It might not be the most respectfuly look but in times when every minute seems to be doom and gloom from one thing or the other, it sure would bring a smile to many people’s faces.
    Next time, you see me around and about, don’t be afraid to greet me with your arms outstretched and flapping with a big caw-caw.
    I might greet you back in kind or at least videotape it and put it on Facebook.
    Time for me to take my roost under the tree in my hammock.