Label Only   (Off the Wall - Nov. 20, 2008)

The following story is fictitious. What you are about to read never happened and was literally made up by yours truly.

But the significance of what is about to follow has meaning, and eventually one will come to see that my little story accompanied with some explanation will have implications that should be taken to heart.

Herbert Huey loved bananas. He probably bought more of them than the average consumer. He would eat them in big bites, little bites, in halves, quarters, mashed alone, mashed with wheat germ or fried. I’m sure he consumed them other ways as well, but without going into too much detail, I thought just by mentioning some of the examples, one would get the message.

One day while reading the want-ads in the daily newspaper in his hometown in Florida, he discovered that there was a club he could join for folks that really loved bananas. A phone number was provided for additional information. Minutes later he called, and a young lady answered. “A Fan-of-Banana” was heard through the earpiece.

“Is this the number one is to call if one has interest in joining an organization for those who really love bananas?” Herb inquired. “Sure is,” came her reply. “My name is Sue. Do you wish to join?” she questioned him. A split-second later he answered, “Yes!!!”

Needless to say, our enthusiast joined the club. He paid his yearly dues and was sent a list of rules by which he must abide. “We are very strict. If you break any of the laws,” she told him, “your membership will be terminated.” “No problemo,” he commented.

Three days later, he received an envelope. After browsing over the laws lightly, he took the compilation and flung it on top of a pile of other papers piled up on his desk.

What followed was to be expected. He went into his kitchen, got himself his favorite food and made himself a banana split. On it were three scoops of ice cream, whipped cream and get this, two cherries to top it off. Wow, did he have a treat awaiting him.

Not reading the by-laws of the A Fan-of-Banana bylaws carefully, he broke one of the rules on the first day – Under Section 2, rule 4 it reads: “No banana in the possession of any member should have anything piled up upon it, whether it be chocolate, cereal, ice cream or the like.”

When Herb met with the others at the monthly organizational meeting, he told of his wonderful concoction he had made after joining the club. Every one stared at him, and then the president announced, “I’m sorry Herb, but you are out. You broke one of the rules.” Shocked, he got up, hesitated, and within minutes left the meeting place.

Herb really didn’t read the rules, did he? Maybe he was one of those who felt “rules are made to be broken.” “I’m allowed choose the codes I want to follow,” he thought. Could it be his membership was more important to him than his observance to the ordinances?

Think about this for a moment. How many times do people join organizations only to ignore the rules set before them? If guidelines have pertinence to dress code, language usage, moral codes, allegiance to one’s country, respect for others and the elderly, murder of the unborn, caring for and sharing with the needy, and giving honor to one’s parents, to cite some examples, then, in my opinion, they must be followed to the letter.

If people join the Lions Club, Rotarians, Ladies Aid Society, Pheasants Forever, or any number of different denominational churches just to say they belong and are not active in helping out to any agree, they are members by label only. Second, and more important, as I see it, each agreed to follow the rules governing the organization upon becoming a member, but only picked and chose certain statutes, abandoning the others. Here, too, they are members by label only.

It must be pointed out that I am not talking about people who have become house-bound or have reached an age where they can no longer adequately participate.

I think we have too many Herbert Hueys living in our communities – those who want to say they belong to clubs or organizations, but want to do things their way. If one joins a church of his choosing, for example, he has to adhere to the rules. That’s the way it was meant to be, and that’s the way it should be.

Article by:
Paul J. Volkmann October 28, 2008
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