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Friday, July 7, 2006

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

There ain’t no
free lunch

She-who-must-be-obeyed and I moved to Lubbock in 1994 because some fool at the Texas Tech law school had miss marked my application. Somehow, we were going to law school.

I say we were going to law school because, when a spouse goes to law school, it is a joint effort.

During school, we swapped off the cooking responsibilities depending on who got home first. It was the summer after our first year when a couple of my single buddies began to conveniently show up around suppertime.

Now, I am a professional mooch. During my single college days I rarely ate out, or at home, and I usually ate well.

I recognize a mooch when I see one.

About 5:30 or so, we’ll call them Joey and J.D. to protect the innocent, would show up and say, “Whatcha doin’ Ms. Laura?”

Of course, Ms. Laura/SWMBO would be cooking.

I came home from work one day, and there were Joey and J.D. sitting at the supper table, looking like cartoon wolves with tongues hanging out, a napkin tied around their necks, knife and fork in their hands.

They were very good friends, and were welcome company at the supper table - but like I said - I know mooching when I see it.

Actually, I kind of envied them - remembering back to carefree days of single mooching.

So, one day I came home, and SWMBO is in the kitchen cooking away, and J.D. is out back chopping down a dead tree the size of a house that SWMBO had been nagging me to chop down. It was about 6 o’clock.

“What’s with J.D.?” I asked.

“Well, he came over and asked what I was doing,” she said sweetly. “I told him I was going to make a chocolate pie, but that I was not going to be able to, since I had to chop down that tree before I could.”

SWMBO just raised her eyebrows and went back to cutting lard into flour to make a crust.

I peered out back, careful not to be seen, and J.D. was doing a fine job on that tree.

And so, SWMBO’s work-for-food program was born.

It worked out well for me, but J.D. and Joey lost a bit of respect in my eyes. Any good mooch would have figured a way out of such labor, but they staunchly showed up around 5:30, moved dirt out of some hole in the ground, chopped wood and generally worked like field hands.

Brer Rabbit, I mean Smokey, he laid low.

The point being, there just is no such thing as a free lunch.

Being a free man or woman is no different.

Freedom is not free.

Now, this time of year, we often talk of the sacrifices our servicemen have made protecting freedom. And, I’m not belittling those sacrifices.

But, no matter how heroic and noble, the sacrifices of our fighting men are not enough to keep us free.

Freedom requires sacrifice from all.

The greatest sacrifices freedom demands from most of us is knowledge and responsibility.

Ignorant, irresponsible people cannot be free.

The Bill of Rights means nothing if you do not know what it says, and especially, why it says what it does.

You cannot be free if you do not understand what makes us free, and why a law or Constitutional provision protects our freedom, or takes it away.

It is a shame since all it takes is a little time spent educating yourself.

Somehow, a little bit of reading seems a pretty small sacrifice compared to what we ask of our servicemen.

Yet, given our unwillingness to educate ourselves even a little, apparently it is still too much to ask.

One day, we will pay for our laziness. Because, there is no free lunch.

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