There are three of us Laugisch brothers. I've introduced you to the "Singing Mule" Fred and you all are quite aware that the failings in my life stem from me being a Wolfpacker, but there is one other among us that I have yet to expose to this audience. Henry. I prefer, Hank, but most people in his life use his proper name. He being a Laugisch, I doubt he worries too much how anyone will address him; Hank is opinionated as any of us, and is starting to master the art of the political argument much like our dear mother...but not quite. Believe me, when you go to talk politics with Faith Helen Page Laugisch you had better come prepared to debate...she can definitely bring the "heat."
Hank is a year older than me and we always had to share a room while growing up. Let's see, there is my sister Laurie who was always going to have her own room and Fred was the oldest, so that left Hank and me to decide how we were going to stack our bunks in the broom closet. Believe it or not, we graduated High School together, it seems he couldn't handle the rigors of first grade on his own, so Mom and Dad decided to pull him out and wait for his younger and more mature brother to hold his hand for 12 friggin years. Only later did I find out that he really didn't need anyone to hold his hand...he is a great manipulator and could get a Baptist minister to drink moonshine in five minutes.
For the most part in our lives we have gotten along great, but it also means we are very competitive. He pulls for Satan (heels), I bleed Wolfpack Red. He loves some Washington Redskins and I pulled for the Cowboys. I have since changed allegiance to the Panthers. I swore that once a pro team was established in NC I would root for them and I detest everything that the current Cowboy owner, Jerry Jones, represents. Hank's also a die hard Cincinnati Reds fan and I root for my beloved Atlanta Braves. He can't stand the fact that he taught me how to play chess and hasn't beaten me in twenty years, and that I hold a lifetime "one on one" basketball series edge over him to the tune of 685-4. He will never figure out how to stop my left handed "Tommy Burleson" hook shot.
As we are competitive in most everything, politics is no different. Let me preface this by saying, I don't discuss politics with someone unless I know them. This might be the only blog of mine that you read regarding some of my political leanings. As I have learned, most Americans are not very "thick-skinned" when it comes to talking about religion or politics; therefore the only thing you need to know about them, they are one and the same: American. Basically, I can find common ground with the most ardent "yellow dog" Democrat and staunchest "Bible Thumping" Republican.
Every now and again Hank will get the better of me in a political discussion and have me backed into a corner. Mind you, it doesn't happen very often and I'm able to get out of it, usually, because I have a card up my sleeve that he has no defense against...he has never once voted in a general election. Yeah, that's right, unpatriotic SOB! Rumor has it though, that his daughter, Paige, may have shamed him last November into actually doing the deed, but until I visually lay my eyes upon a voter registration card we'll continue to call him a communist. On these occasions he'll start railing against a certain politician or a law he finds stupid or how things would be different if he were the governor. Invariably, I'll interrupt him and ask, "Did you vote this year?" He'll respond by saying, "No, what's that got to do with it?" I end it by telling him, "If you don't vote, you don't have anything to bitch about!" I usually get up and walk away and as I trail out the door, I tell him, "I'm not arguing politics with a guy too damn lazy to vote!"
Hank got me to thinking, especially the part about how things would be different if he were the the governor. Well, I don't desire to hold such a lofty position in politics, but damn if I wouldn't like to see a few things changed. If there were some device that could do that...make me governor for a day...I would love to tweak a particular pet peeve of mine: Prison.
As I only have one day in office I figured the penal system would be the perfect place to start..and to be quite honest, it would be an easy fix. My main beef with prison is that I personally don't think it is all that intimidating...and am I the only one who has a problem with an individual being sentenced to "Life" and twenty years later the scumbag is out walking the streets? Back to the issue about prisons. Today, prisoners have it made with all the rights of a law abiding citizen...3 hots and a cot, free medical care, Internet, college courses and yes...cable TV. Much to my consternation, I find it abominable that convicted felons live better than most soldiers do in the military.
My philosophy is that prison should be a place to deter crime, not rehabilitate. Therefore, in Mark's world prison should be the place where a criminal should start thinking about changing his day job. Here's how we make it happen:
1. Remove all the recreational items such as TV, books, Internet, movies, games and yes...weight lifting equipment. Sorry. It's suppose to be prison...not day camp and we don't need anymore criminals who can bench press a Volkswagen. This also includes taking out the air conditioning and letting them use fans. Hey, if it was good enough for me in the Army, it's damn good enough for criminals.
2. Work them from sun-up to sundown. Make them break big rocks into little rocks til there are no more. It doesn't have to be creative or productive and they don't even have to leave the facility...they could dig holes and fill them back up and start back over again. There are a million things we could make these morons do and my point is to make it so physically exhausting that all they want to do at night is...sleep.
3. This is the most important step. They do need some comfort music to whistle too while they work. So, I suggest installing speaker systems throughout the prisons and playing only two songs on a repeat loop. Here's the torture in all that. It would be two songs from the eighties that made me want to slash my wrists: Boy George and Culture Club's "Ill Tumble For You," and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." There is no way in the world that anyone would want to endure that on a daily basis.
That's it. See how easy that would be? Three lousy paragraphs and I have made the streets of North Carolina safer than probably 150 years of social reform in the penal system. Whew! That was quite tiresome and as I stated it would probably consume my day as governor. That was easy compared to my next challenge and it will require more than a day as our State's top executive: Getting Brother Hank to become a registered voter and a better chess player. Vaya Con dios everybody!