Deputy Director

Focus on the Chisel
By John Reblin 

So, a while back I decided to lose a little weight, take the load off the body along with the internal organs like my heart. Some diet and upping my aerobic activity along with cutting back on the weight lifting I was able to lose some weight, and trying to reach my current goal by the end of the year: good luck, right? If you are looking to work out you need to find something you enjoy doing along with carving out that time needed. I have to do it first thing in the morning otherwise my mind is racing along later in the day with projects and things and I won't get it done. I also have to have a little outside stimulus so I won't be bored and turn the tread off and find something else to do. To help me along I bring my tablet and tune into Netflix to avoid that boredom. The show of the week that I am watching is Last Chance U, a documentary about some fairly talented football players that were cut off of a Division 1 team for academic or behavior issues. Once off the team they realize they miss football and want to get back onto a team. East Mississippi Community College takes these young men, and with coaches and supporting staff they help them understand how to do that. Starting with the basics how to get to class, be on time, what is expected. They help to a point: telling the students, "this is what you need to do to play here." Hopefully they follow through and get a chance to get back up to a Division 1 school, from there who knows. I am sure for the players the hope is the pro's.

As I was watching the show, walking along, the coach, as a way to motivate his player, was carrying a sledge hammer during a team meeting before the game. As he held the hammer he told his players repeatedly during the meeting to keep your eye on the chisel. That took me back 40 years or so ago when helping my dad cut and split wood for the wood stove in the basement. My dad's thought at the time was to keep us kids busy with this type of work, and hopefully we would be to tired later to do anything bad. He just bought a new sledgehammer and we were working away cutting and splitting wood for the winter. As I grabbed the hammer and set the chisel into the end of the log and wound up for the swing, hopefully, to split the log. I missed the chisel and the head missed the end of the log causing the handle to break. It was one of those rare times that my dad laughed when I screwed up rather than the normal yelling, and told me I needed to look at what I was hitting. We got in the truck and we went to get another handle at the local hardware store, and I then got a lesson in replacing the broken handle.

Now all these years later, walking on the tread, it was starting to make sense to me in a motorcycle way. When you drive a car, you need to watch where you are going, you need to pay attention. As you ride you need to look to where you want to turn. You need to follow the corner. Both need to focus on the road and other tasks to arrive home safely. We sometimes just "glance" at things missing the whole issue or problem. We are not focused on the task, or the chisel.

As we move into the fall and winter, we need to "focus on the chisel" on our legislative agenda. We need to as a group get these items passed. We need to make the phone calls, write the letters, and take the time to meet with our representatives. We need to as Steve Panten says, to get loud. When we get a legislative call to action by email, Facebook, this newsletter, or from another member, we need to take action requested.

We have been talking about the additions to our ROW (right-of-way) bill for years. I get emails asking me why isn't, fill in the blank, a right of way violation? We are scratching our heads when we see a Polaris Slingshot go down the road with the person driving it wearing a helmet and having a motorcycle plate bolted onto the back of it and, hopefully a M endorsement. And I for one along with many others want to protect my privacy when driving my vehicle.

These items are our chisel and you are the sledgehammer. Contact your representative, participate in the process and let's work together and move our agenda along. It's time for our sledgehammer to hit the legislative chisel!

Reblin, John. "Focus on the Chisel." ABATE of Wisconsin Newsletter Oct. 2017.

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