No. 359

We had a speaker come to our Lions Club a while back who was so dry that we had to call the fire department and have them stand by, in case the building caught on fire. Its not often that I get sleepy during a 30-minute talk, but that’s what happened the day this speaker came. As I was sitting there nodding off, a fellow Lion sitting next to me became embarrassed and punched me. When he did I almost fell out of my chair and this turned out to be the highlight of the meeting.
The next time we have a business meeting I am going to suggest that we appoint some “Tappers” for our club. Now, I can tell by the blank look on your face that you don’t know about the tapper system. Let me try, as best I can, to explain it to you. The tapper system originated in the rural churches of the Deep South back before the turn of the 19th Century. Usually the church would have a “head” tapper and several alternates.
It was his duty to stand at the rear of the church during the preaching service and observe the congregation. If he saw anyone not paying strict attention, he was to take the long stick (which was standard equipment for tappers) and walk down the isle and tap the offending person on the head. Now, you know why he was called the “head” tapper.
This was before my day, but I heard a story a while back about the tapper system that will give you a good idea of what I am talking about. It seems a city boy was going to visit some of his country kinfolks in a small community in a neighboring state. This city boy was “suitcase” company and he pulled up in front of the house, opened up the trunk and started setting suitcases out on the ground. When this happened this family knew they were in for a long visit.
Since he was staying over the weekend, this family decided to take this city boy to church. Well, things were going along fine until about an hour and a half into the preacher’s message this city boy got sleepy and began to nod off. At this point, the “Tapper” in the back of the church saw him. The tapper knew the situation and he hated to hit a visitor, but he also recognized his duty and responsibility to the church.
So he took that long stick, about four foot long and about the size of a hoe handle, and very softly walked down the isle. When he got to this city boy’s pew, he retched over and tapped him on the head. When he did, this city boy’s eyes got as big as a saucer and he sat up straight in the pew and turned around the tapper and said, “Fella, you had better hit me again, I can still hear him.” As I said earlier, at our next business meeting I am going to suggest that we appoint some “Tappers” for our club.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed this light-hearted story, and I hope my fellow Lions will forgive me for taking a little liberty, but we all need a break from time to time. My wife proofreads and edits these columns and she said it was time for me to ‘lighten’ up and like always, she is right. The story I have shared about the “Tappers” is almost as good as the one about the old boy whose wife ran off with his best friend. When they told him about it, the first thing he said was, “Boy, am I going to miss him.”
Like millions of Americans, the events of September 11, 2001 not only outraged me, it did something even deeper to my inner self. The real tragedy is for those who lost loved ones, but for the rest of us it was a wake up call to return to the values of family, faith and patriotism, the things that are most important in our lives. We know now that we are vulnerable to an enemy that is cunning and has no regard for the sanctity of human life. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)