You may remember the old joke about the mischievous country boy with more muscles than brains. He decided to push over his family’s outhouse one morning before he left for school.
As the joke goes, the privy crashed down a hillside behind the house and splashed into a creek as the kid made a fast getaway.
When the boy got home from school, his father was waiting with a switch in his hand. The father said, “Son, do you know anything about what happened to the outhouse?” The boy responded, “I cannot tell a lie. I shoved it over the hill.”
“In that case,” the father said, “I’m going to have to give you a whipping.”
“But Dad,” the boy protested, “I learned at school today that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree when he was a kid and he didn’t get in trouble because he told the truth.”
The father replied sternly, “George Washington’s father wasn’t in that cherry tree.”
As a young newspaper reporter long years ago, I heard that joke for the first time from a politician who told it in a stump speech. I’ve never forgotten it all these years later because it really does convey an important truth: Being honest is the right thing, even if it gets you in trouble.
It seems truth is in such short supply these days that we hardly know what or who to believe anymore.
We can’t always believe what we hear on TV. We can’t always trust what we read on the Internet or hear at the barbershop. And we certainly can’t always bank on what we hear from the rascals who hang out at the local feed store.
I was traveling for work the other day, listening to news on my car radio, when I heard about the advisory from the Food and Drug Administration warning against people injecting themselves with Ivermectin cattle wormer to ward off COVID-19. The FDA warned that doing so could cause violent vomiting and blurred vision or worse.
I wondered where the idea of using cattle wormer originated, and then I thought about some of the old farmers who used to gather at Bishop Feed Store to swamp tall tales to see who could get the biggest laugh.
The Ivermectin tale sounded like something one of those guys might have invented to get a laugh.
In times like these, I’m glad there’s still a place to go for absolute truth, a place where we never have to doubt a single word. I’m talking about the Bible, the best-selling book of all time, “given by the inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).” That verse goes on to say the Bible is good to instruct and correct us when we’re wrong and to teach us what is right.
We certainly need that kind of truth in our lives.
We need folks like George Washington, or even the young fellow outhouse tumbler, who will tell it straight and let the chips fall where they may.
Reach Roger Alford at 502-514-6857 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.