Swickard: Cow flop lessons apply to ObamaCare

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. As I wrote last week, I have had trouble with my new “healthcare.” It reminds me of something my brother did to me when I was five. Bill is three years older and when we were young that was significant.
     One day he and a friend were jumping off of one side of a barn into plowed ground. It was a fall of about six feet. After I watched a while I asked: did it hurt when he landed.
      He and his friend got an odd look on their faces. He put his hand on my shoulder as a sign of trust. “Yes,” he said, “It sure does hurt unless a person knows what to do so it does not hurt.”
     Wow, to be able to jump off things and it not hurt. I asked him for the secret. He leaned closer and said confidentially, as if he was about to impart something important, that if I kept my eyes closed real tight, it would not hurt.
      Double wow, so that was the secret. I was always trying to find the secret to things. And I had just found out how to jump off things without it hurting. My brother and his friend stood by the side of the barn in disbelief as I climbed to the top of the one story barn, firmly closed my eyes and said, “Oh, boy!”
     First off, I was not going to waste this secret going off the side onto plowed dirt, no; I jumped off the front of the barn with an air of pleasant expectation, like trying a new flavor of ice cream. Very quickly I learned what a credibility gap is all about. I did not break anything, but for a time I was not sure.
      Luckily I hit in the middle of a pile of cow flop which I would have missed if my eyes had been open. The good news is the cow pies broke my fall a little, but I would not recommend cow flop as a pillow, even if it is relatively soft when you jump off a barn.
     What made matters even worse was that I went into the ranch house crying and trying to wipe the cow flop off of me. Heads would roll if I had anything to say about it. I had the intention of getting my brother in big trouble for the dirty rotten trick he had pulled on me. Then it happened. 
     The first adult seemed slow to understanding why I was crying and fussing while covered with cow flop. Suddenly the first adult got the story and I am sorry to say laughed. I guess it just came out.
Further, I am sad to say that instead of sympathy which I deserved, instead of the kindness for my misfortune, instead of going out there and swatting my brother as he surely deserved. 
     Instead, the first blabbed to the rest of the adults and they all laughed. It was cruel cow-flop laughter and I remember it started with that same expression that had been on my brother’s face.
     In fact, about all I got from the fall into the cow flop was a close look at that expression. I remember it well even now. When I see that expression I keep my eyes open. Read full column