The Line is Busy 

Possible conversations Senator Mark Norris may be having these days.

Here's a shout-out to Collierville Republican state Senator Mark Norris. As a man of intellect, not to mention the senate majority leader of the rambunctious Tennessee General Assembly, I bet he must cringe every time the phone rings. Imagine, having to appear to be understanding and civil to the looney-toon legislators of both parties who seek his advice on how to proceed with ethically and morally questionable legislative proposals they appear to have pulled out of thin air. Some of the proposed measures brought forward by his colleagues beg the question, "Have the inmates completely taken over running the asylum?"

click to enlarge f26149bc89276f7f4799fd94488864f9.jpg

I don't know what his conversations specifically entail. But, for the purposes of this column, I'll put my imagination to work.

"Senator Norris, I have Senator Stacey Campfield on the line, he'd like to speak with you?

"I thought I told you to block his number?"

"Well, sir, he insists it's of some importance."

"Okay, put him through."

"Mark, Stacey here. I need some help on the language of a bill I'm working on to castrate all black men who have more than two children. I heard it works in cutting down on the Chinese population. And we could put more teeth in it by making them take a drug test before copulation occurs. I think I've got a sponsor lined up in the House from Johnson City. I know you're busy, Mark, if you could just streamline the wording for me ..."

"Senator, I hate to interrupt, but, it's Senator Ophelia Ford on line two. At least, I think it's her. It sounded kind of distant."

"Okay, I got it."

"Ophelia, to what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"

"Who is this?"

"Ophelia, it's, Mark Norris, what can I do for you?"

"Oh, yes, Mark, I've introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana usage in the state. I think it's timely because, with all the mean nurses I've dealt with in the past, I've decided self-medication is the way to go. Besides, I read, or someone read it for me, that Congressman Steve Cohen likes marijuana too, and he's a white man from Colorado. Did you know they have bike lanes just like us?"

"Oops! Sorry, Ophelia, we'll talk more later. I've got another call."

"Senator, Brian Kelsey, on line three."

"Hello, Brian, I was expecting your call. Well, you've made quite the mess of it, young man, mixing religion and business with homosexuality. I wish you had come to me first about the wording of your proposal. It's atrocious legislation and no sane-thinking legislator is going to back it. Brian, what in the world were you thinking? (click) Brian? ... Brian?"

"Senator Norris, I've got state Representative Curry Todd on hold."

"Okay, put him through."

"Mark, what time is it?"

"Well, Curry, by my watch, it's 3:15 in the afternoon."

"You see, that's the point of some new legislation I'm wrestling with. This whole daylight savings time issue is so confusing. Now, here's what I was thinking: We could scrap the whole idea of daylight savings time or we could make it permanent. Or we could try to make the day longer, because this idea of having to go through the tedious process of fixing our clocks twice a year is just ludicrous. We got different time zones in this state. If we rolled back the clocks for an hour, it would give extra daylight for our farmers to be productive, and in the winter our children wouldn't be going to school in the dark. And for people who go to bars there'd be extra time for happy hour, because, as I well know, it's always five o'clock somewhere, ain't it, Mark? If you'll just put the right words in place, I'll find some senate sponsor who'd like to have his name on a bill. I tried to call Campfield and Kelsey, but their lines were busy. Do you know how I could get ahold of Ophelia Ford?"

"Senator Norris, I hate to interrupt, but I've got a phone call from some supposed elected official from Memphis who'd like to talk to you about legalizing guns in parks?"

"Just tell them, it's five o'clock somewhere."

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