“Last week was surely important for one of our state officials,” offered the merchant to his coffee slurping cohorts. Senior gents had gathered at a cozy Cheap Coffee Club rustic hot beverage haven. “As much as we believe in democracy and voters rights, we should take our hats off to Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.
“She was selected as the recipient of the annual ‘Profile in Courage Award’ by the John F. Kennedy Foundation. The prize is given for those office holders who do their jobs correctly even though a decision might not make politicians happy.
“Simply stated, she made a decision which could mean your vote gets counted.
“Our secretary of state, who has serious responsibilities concerning elections, had studied reports relative to certain electronic touch screen voting machines. From this information she believed that there was a good possibility that results produced from those machines could be seriously tampered with or had too much likelihood of not working correctly. Maybe even being hacked so totals were lost or altered.
“So she started change with Cleveland last election and it worked. Therefore it seemed like a good idea for the rest of the state.
“But politicians want to stand in the way. For a bunch of reasons which lawmakers can generate with the turn of a copier crank, members of both major Ohio parties began to fuss. They used some mighty weak arguments when you are talking about a fundamental right of the people to have their vote counted.
“It is the right thing to do. I like her spunk. One newspaper said, ‘Real leadership, as Ms. Brunner demonstrates, is taking people where they ought to go.’”
“I want you to know I showed some leadership recently,” proclaimed Doberman.
“I got my shingles shot.”
“You say you need a new roof?” inquired another CCC whose hearing loss had a flare up.
“No, No,” the old German replied. “It’s a disease. Shingles is a painful affliction, rarely contagious, which flares up in adulthood among those who had chicken pox as a child. An ugly, nasty, itchy rash breaks out and it is quite painful to the touch. Symptoms hang around a long time for some people, maybe for years.
Well, a couple of years ago a very effective vaccine was developed. Testing showed it to be effective with few side effects. It is now approved for the public. My doctor said it is OK to get one, but he doesn’t stock them because their shelf life is limited. He recommended our health department. So I called them.
“After my usual fumbling and grumbling with electronic telephone directions, I was switched to a telephone darling. You could tell she was smiling over the phone. I have met several like her in the past few months.
“Lucky me. Lucky for old folks too.
“Within moments an appointment was conveniently arranged. When I arrived for my shot I met the health department heroine … and she WAS smiling; as was the nurse who administered the vaccine. Bingo! I was finished. No after effects. And I met some nice professional folks.
“Let me tell you about the money. The shot isn’t free. It is somewhat expensive. Medicare doesn’t cover it. My supplemental insurance does, according to my policy limits.
“You should check with your doctor about whether it fits you.”
Richard Armbrust of Norwalk is the unofficial scribe of the Cheap Coffee Club, a group of retirees who meet each morning for coffee and conversation at a local restaurant. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.