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Big Tim's Story
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Chapter 1

            Big Tim is a very kind, well-meaning person… as long as you don’t get on his bad side. See, Big Tim suffers from a bit of an anger problem. He’s usually able to keep it under control, but when someone threatens him or the people he cares about, Tim gets angry. Aside from that, Big Tim is just the kind of guy you’d like to have as your friend. He’s always there to help you out, and he’ll do anything to back you up.

            Now, the other thing about Big Tim is that while he’s very hard-working, he’s a little slow. He struggled academically throughout high school, and his high school advisor recommended that he not move on to college. But that was perfectly fine because Big Tim never really wanted to go to college anyway. He always dreamed of opening up his own bar - you know, a classy bar with good company, good drinks, and good fun.  So after graduating high school at the age of 21, Big Tim opened up Big Tim’s Bar in early 2006 on Mulberry Street in Scranton, PA.

            Big Tim’s Bar was everything he had hoped it would be. It was maybe a little basic, but still, it was a nice clean place where friends could gather for some good fun. But the thing was, that was the problem – Big Tim’s friends were about the only customers at his bar.

You see, the dark and hopeless city of Scranton was becoming darker and more hopeless with each day that went by. The city was being overrun by greedy businessmen and corrupt politicians whose actions were simultaneously being justified by theologically-flawed Fundamentalist Protestant ministers. In the midst of all this, a man named Dick DeGreedio, a self-centered and money-hungry businessman, was driving the city to ruins by buying out local businesses, firing the owners and paying the employees half as much as what they once used to make. If local business owners didn’t give into his demands, DeGreedio would use his corrupt politician friends as leverage. Needless to say, the war that was being waged on the soul of Scranton was not good for Big Tim’s business. People barely had enough money to get by, and so spending money on going out to the bar was out of the question for the average Scranton resident.

Now under normal circumstances, slow business wouldn’t have been that big of a deal for Big Tim. After all, Tim had always been a man of simplicity. He never needed a large house, fancy vacations, sports cars, the next big thing or anything of that sort. Big Tim always appreciated the simple things in life, like time with family and friends. He was living his dream by running his bar, working hard and earning every penny he made. But the problem was that Big Tim had a family to feed. He had married his high school sweetheart, Kim, when they were both eighteen years old, and they quickly started a family together. They now had two children. Little Jim was three years old, and Tiny Tim was only one. Slow business at Big Tim’s Bar meant trouble for his family, and he didn’t like that. He didn’t like that at all. Big Tim wanted to be a good provider for his family.

The frustrating thing for Big Tim was that both he and his wife worked full-time. Kim worked at Price Chopper, the local grocery store of East Scranton, but she only made a minimum wage salary which would not nearly be enough to support their family of four if Tim were to lose his job. Even though Big Tim and Kim both worked full-time, they were still struggling financially, living paycheck-to-paycheck. They were barely making enough money to pay their bills, and they were left with only a small portion of money for food at the end of each month. Saving money was of course not an option. Much to his dissatisfaction, Big Tim eventually decided to apply for Food Stamps, but he didn’t qualify because he worked full-time. Furthermore, he became very concerned about the fact that he couldn’t afford healthcare coverage for his family. He reluctantly applied for Medicaid, but his family once again didn’t make the cut. Big Tim and his family simply slipped through the cracks of society.

By the time August of 2006 rolled around, Big Tim realized once and for all that something needed to change. It was August 23, 2006, and the summer weather was indeed hot. But the heat wasn’t the only thing that was troubling Big Tim’s family.

“Honey,” Kim called out from the living room, “I really think something’s wrong with Tiny Tim! Please come here quickly!”

Big Tim put down his newspaper and stood up from his seat at the kitchen table. A bead of sweat dripped down his forehead. He had been worried about Tiny Tim for quite some time now. You see, Tiny Tim was behaving very oddly over the past few days. Something was wrong.

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” Big Tim asked with a forced sense of calmness.

“Well,” said Kim, apprehensively, “Tiny Tim has been asleep for hours now. It’s not like him! He never sleeps this much.”

“That is pretty weird… what else did you say was unusual about him lately?”

“Aside from sleeping more than usual, Tiny Tim has been constantly hungry and thirsty, and he keeps on getting this really bad diaper rash.”

“Ew, gross.” Big Tim’s face scrunched up. He hated changing diapers. “Well, that is pretty strange. What do you think is wrong with him?”

“I don’t know,” Kim said while looking at her watch, “but he’s been sleeping for… oh my gosh! He’s been sleeping for eleven hours!”

“He slept for eleven hours?! Today?! But he slept for at least twelve hours last night!” Big Tim was really beginning to worry now.

“Honey,” Kim said, scared, “what should we do?”

“Well… I mean, you know we don’t have medical insurance… and we don’t have the money for a visit to the doctor.”

“Yes,” Kim said, frustrated, “I know.”

“But,” Big Tim clenched his fist in anger, “health is more important than money any day of the week.”

Kim looked around the room apprehensively as if she was searching for the solution to their dilemma to pop right out at her. “How much money do we have in the bank?” she asked.

“Um… about twenty bucks.”

“Twenty dollars! That’s not going to do anything for Tiny Tim!”

“I know, sweetheart,” Big Tim said, aggravated. “I don’t know what else to do. I applied for Medicaid, and you know how much I hated doing that.”

“Yes,” Kim said with deep appreciation in her eyes, “I know you’d do anything for us.”

“That’s right, I would,” Big Tim said as he put his arm around his wife and kissed her forehead. He looked through her dark-colored bangs to see her motionless eyes. He knew how scared she was.

Tim felt stuck. He felt as if he had nowhere to turn. Without money to visit the doctor, and without health insurance, what was he supposed to do?

“You know,” Big Tim continued, “I’m sure it’s just a cold. I betcha Tiny Tim will be fine. I’ll tell you what… let’s go to sleep for the night, and if he’s still not back to normal by tomorrow morning, we’ll take him to the emergency room.”

“Well,” Kim said, “I suppose you’re probably right. Let’s go to bed for the night. I have to get up early tomorrow morning for work and I’m exhausted.”

And so Big Tim and Kim went to bed, hoping that Tiny Tim would soon be ok... but Tiny Tim was not ok. He was not ok by any means.

 

 

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Chapter 2

          Big Tim and Kim woke up early the next morning at the sound of their alarm clock. Both of them had slept like rocks. They had been worried about Tiny Tim for days now, and they were both in need of a good night’s sleep. Big Tim stretched out his arms as he yawned.

            “Good morning, sweetheart,” Big Tim said halfway through his yawn.

            “Morning, honey,” said Kim, very peacefully. Suddenly, Kim’s eyes burst open. “Honey,” she said in horror, “Tiny Tim didn’t wake us up all night!”

            Big Tim jumped out of his bed in a panic. “You’re right! He usually wakes us up at least three times during the night!”

            Big Tim ran across the hallway to the living room where Tiny Tim was sleeping in his crib. Big Tim looked at his son with deeply worried eyes.

            “Kim,” he said, “he’s still sound asleep!” Big Tim picked Tiny Tim up in his arms and rocked him back and forth. Tiny Tim didn’t budge. “He’s not waking up!”

            Kim ran over to the crib. “Something’s wrong, something’s very wrong!”

            Big Tim sighed in frustration. “Get your coat on, we’re going to the hospital.”

            “Ok,” Kim said, uncertain, “but… how are we going to pay?”

            “Doesn’t matter,” Big Tim said, “our son needs help. Now go wake up Little Jim and let’s get going!”

            Fifteen minutes later, Big Tim and his family burst into the emergency room at Moses Taylor Hospital on Quincy Avenue.

            “Somebody please help my son!” Big Tim shouted. “He won’t wake up!”

            “Sir,” the female receptionist said from behind her desk, “please lower your voice. I’ll need to ask you for some information.”

            Just then, a tall, skinny, blonde-haired doctor walked into the room and motioned for Kim to bring Tiny Tim into a nearby room. Little Jim stayed with Big Tim.

            “He’s going to be ok,” Big Tim asked the receptionist, “isn’t he?”

            “I’m sure he will be, sir,” said the receptionist as she ran her fingers through her bushy, light brown hair. “I need to ask you a few questions. Take a seat. What’s your name?”

            “Big Tim.”

            “Big Tim, huh? Don’t you have a last name?”

            Big Tim glared at her.

            “Ok,” the woman said, puzzled. “Insurance?’

            Big Tim shuffled in his chair. “Uh…”

            “Hmm, let me guess,” the woman said, glaring at Big Tim, “you’re uninsured?”

            “That would be correct.”

            The woman sighed. “Ok… you do know you’re going to be billed afterward, correct?”

            Big Tim shuffled in his chair some more. “Yeah. I’ll take care of it.”

            After some more questions and a bit of paperwork, Big Tim took Little Jim’s hand and hurriedly walked over to the nearby room where Kim was waiting. Kim was sobbing uncontrollably.

            “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Big Tim asked. “Doctor, what’s going on?!”

            “Your son,” the doctor said, “has just been put on a ventilator. He’s in a deep coma.”

            “A coma?!” Big Tim yelled. “What?! Why?!”

            “Well,” the doctor continued, “we’re not entirely sure at the moment. His symptoms indicate several possible issues… we’re looking into it now, but he’s been in a coma for quite some time. Why didn’t you bring him to our hospital sooner?”

            Big Tim grunted in anger. “We’re uninsured. If that wasn’t the case, I would have brought him here in a heartbeat. My family’s health is top priority.”

            “Well,” the doctor said, “it’s a good thing you brought your son here today. Tiny Tim nearly died. If you had waited perhaps another half an hour or so, you would have been burying your son later this week.”

            “Dear God,” Big Tim said, shocked. “I can’t believe this… I should have just brought him here sooner! What were we thinking?!”

            “It’s ok, honey,” Kim said, trying to soothe Big Tim through tears of her own, “we didn’t have many options.”

            “Doc,” Big Tim asked, “he’s going to be ok, isn’t he?”

            “Time will tell,” the doctor replied as he looked away and walked back into Tiny Tim’s room. Kim burst into tears as Big Tim put his arms around his wife and Little Jim, trying to console them both.

            “Daddy,” Little Jim said, “I’m scared for Timmy.”

            “Don’t worry, son… everything will be alright,” Big Tim said. “Everything will be alright.”

  But Big Tim was terrified.

 

 

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Chapter 3

          Time seemed to come to a halt for Big Tim and his family. They were all so worried about Tiny Tim. They wanted nothing more than to be told that everything was going to be ok. Finally, the doctor walked into the waiting room.

            “I think we’ve discovered the problem,” he said. “You can come see your son, now.”

The doctor led Big Tim and his family back to Tiny Tim’s room as he began to explain the diagnosis.

“Your son,” the doctor continued, “is a type 1 diabetic. Would I be correct in assuming that you were both unaware of this?”

“Yes,” Big Tim said, “we had no idea. How were we supposed to know?”

“Well,” the doctor replied, “there would have been no way for you to know until Tiny Tim’s symptoms emerged. Kim, how long has your son been having the symptoms you described to me earlier?”

“Let me think,” Kim said. “About one week.”

“One week?!” the doctor said, aggravated. “You should have brought him here within a few days of the appearance of these symptoms! You’re telling me you waited seven days?!”

“I TOLD you,” Big Tim said, his anger growing, “we’re uninsured, and we didn’t realize it was an emergency! What were we supposed to do?!”

The doctor sighed. “In any case, Tiny Tim’s blood sugar level was far too high. His blood sugar level should be between 65 and 140… he was at about 375 when you brought him in.”

Kim began sobbing once again. After a minute of walking, Big Tim and his family arrived at Tiny Tim’s room. They stared at their unconscious son as the sound of the ventilator filled the quiet room.

“Well,” the doctor said, “I’ll give you some time alone with your son. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

The doctor left the room as Big Tim walked over to the side of Tiny Tim’s bed. He lifted up his son’s small, fragile fingers and held them in the palm of his hand. He squeezed his son’s fingers, holding onto them as if he were trying to bring Tiny Tim back into the world from the deep sleep that currently overtook him.

After several minutes, the doctor came back into the room to do some tests, so Big Tim and his family went back to the waiting room and sat down. Big Tim glanced over to see a little old nun sitting in the corner of the waiting room praying the Rosary. Just then, the receptionist turned on the radio to listen to the Glenn Beck Program.

“Hi Kathy, go ahead,” Glenn Beck said to his caller.

“Glenn,” the caller said, “we’ve got people out there who are really sick and need healthcare!”

“Oh, my goodness, yes,” Glenn Beck said, sarcastically.

“It’s despicable,” the caller continued, “when people like you subject society to your heartless rhetoric! When people don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it, where do they get it?”

“Where DO they get it?” Glenn Beck responded, mockingly. “You know what, Kathy, you are so right! Let me just tell you something… I read in the newspapers all the time about the people who are dying on the streets because they don’t have healthcare! You’re exactly right, Kathy, we’re letting people die left and right in this country!”

Just then, the little old nun who was sitting in the corner jumped out of her seat and shouted, “Turn that crap OFF!”

Big Tim turned around to face the little old nun. He couldn’t believe how loud she was capable of yelling. Just from the look of her, you wouldn’t expect her to say anything aside from a polite little, ‘Why, God Bless you, dear!’ She was maybe four and a half feet tall, very skinny and frail, and she carried a cane.

“I can’t listen to that fool any longer!” the nun continued as she swung her cane in the air.

“Well,” Big Tim said, “you don’t sound like a Glenn Beck fan.”

“Me?!” the nun replied. “No, of course not! I consider myself to have morals.”

Big Tim laughed. “What makes you hate Glenn Beck so much?”

“Well, now,” the nun responded, “‘hate’ is a strong word! I don’t hate anyone, including Glenn Beck. I just hate what he says!”

“Like what?”

“Did you hear what he just said? He doesn’t think people die as a result of not having healthcare! What nonsense!”

Big Tim squinted his eyes, confused. “Well… I haven’t heard of anyone dying from being uninsured, have you?”

The nun started to swing her cane in the air again. “Yes, I have heard of people dying from being uninsured, actually! People like your son!”

“Hey, now, Sister,” Big Tim said, “I hope you have higher hopes for my son than that!”

The little old nun smiled. “Well, of course I do. What do you think I’ve been sitting here praying the Rosary for? Now, where was I?”

“Something about healthcare,” Big Tim said.

“Oh, yes,” the nun continued, “people die in this country all the time from being uninsured! In fact, a recent study at Harvard University estimated that 45,000 people die every year as a result of being uninsured!”

“What?” Big Tim exclaimed. “How is that possible? Hospitals are required to treat every patient that comes into their emergency rooms.”

“Well,” the nun continued, “take a look at your son’s case! Sure, the hospital had to treat him once he arrived here, but he almost died before he ever got here! You heard what the doctor said… if you had waited a half an hour later to bring your son to the hospital, he would have died!”

“You overheard that?” Big Tim said as he chuckled. “Man, you’re nosey.”

“Not nosey,” the nun said, “just concerned. Anyway, every year, thousands of uninsured people develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, or – in your son’s case – diabetes, and are unaware of it!”

“So?” Big Tim said.

“So,” the nun continued, “when uninsured people develop such health problems, they’re unlikely to go to the doctor to seek necessary treatment because they know they can’t afford to do so! By the time their health problem develops into a serious condition such as a heart attack or a stroke, a visit to the local emergency room is useless because their condition is already too far advanced! They simply die!”

“Hm,” Big Tim replied, “I guess I see your point.”

“You should see my point! If you had health insurance, I bet you would have brought your son to this hospital days ago! He wouldn’t have had to go into a coma. The doctor would have given him insulin and he would have been just fine! Now look at the mess you’re in… your son might end up dying, and it’s all because you didn’t have health insurance! It’s a sin!”

“You’re right,” Big Tim said as a guilty expression covered his face, “I should have brought him here much earlier.”

“No,” the nun responded, “it’s not your fault! You seem like a good guy, a hard-working fellow. After all, I read that 73% of all uninsured Americans are members of working families! Did you know that we have 45 million people in this country who are uninsured? We’re the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee health insurance for all of its citizens. We ought to! As the Catholic Church teaches, healthcare is a basic fundamental human right!”

“Well,” Big Tim says, “I’d tell you to stop being so preachy, but I guess its ok since you’re a nun and all. What’s your name, anyway?”

“Me?” the nun responded. “I’m Sister McStikenthamud. I’m a Sister of Mercy. I come to this hospital a few times a week to visit the patients. I was on my way out the door when I overheard what happened to your son. I’m very sorry to hear of your pain.”

Sister McStikenthamud walked over to give Big Tim a hug.

“Easy, now, Sister,” Big Tim said, chuckling, “I appreciate your concern.”

“Well,” Sister McStikenthamud continued, “I wasn’t finished! What do you think happens to uninsured people who have mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety conditions and suicidal tendencies?”

“Uhh, I don’t know,” Tim responded.

“Well, I’ll tell you what happens to them! Uninsured people with psychological illnesses usually neglect to seek necessary help from counselors and psychologists because they know they can’t afford to do so. They’re also unable to afford vital medication for their conditions! As a result, uninsured people with mental illnesses either go on living their lives in complete misery or eventually commit suicide!”

“I see,” Big Tim responded, clearly daydreaming. His mind drifted back to Tiny Tim.

“Oh,” Sister McStikenthamud said, lowering her volume, “I’m sorry, dear! I shouldn’t be bothering you at a time like this. It’s just that I tend to get so passionate about this issue because I’m constantly surrounded by uninsured people who are in need of help! Anyway, I’ll get back to work.”

Sister McStikenthamud went back to her seat in the corner of the waiting room and continued to say the Rosary for Big Tim’s son.

 

 

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Chapter 4

            Later that afternoon on August 24, 2006, Big Tim and his family sat in Tiny Tim’s hospital room and rejoiced in Tiny Tim’s restored health. It turned out that Tiny Tim did come out of his coma after all, and it looked as if he would be just fine.

“Let’s see, here,” the doctor said, “Tiny Tim will be ok as long as you take care of his diabetes properly. You’re going to have to test Tiny Tim’s blood sugar level multiple times a day and administer insulin when needed.”

“Insulin?” Big Tim said. “How much does that stuff cost? Can we afford it?”

“That’s out of my concern,” the doctor said as he began walking out of the room. “If you don’t have insurance, I recommend applying for Medicaid.”

“I already did apply for Medicaid,” Big Tim said as he stood up and followed the doctor out of the room, “but I was denied because my wife and I both work! What am I supposed to do, Doc?”

“How should I know?” the doctor replied, irritated. “Thousands of diabetics in this country are without insurance. A few of them get the medication they need somehow, usually by asking family or friends for financial help.”

“And what happens to those of them who don’t have anyone to turn to, Doc?”

“Well,” the doctor said, “they… listen, I agree with you. It’s not right that your son isn’t able to obtain the medicine he needs.”

“It sure isn’t right!” Big Tim spat out, infuriated.

The doctor folded his arms as he continued. “Yes… not only is the healthcare policy of this country flawed, but our unregulated free market system allows our medicine companies to get away with murder by charging whatever they like for medicines that people desperately need. It’s horrible, but it’s out of my hands. I’d change things if I could, but I’m a doctor, not a politician.”

“You’re right, Doc,” Big Tim said. “It’s not your fault. I’m sorry to take this out on you… I appreciate everything you’ve done for my son. I just don’t know what to do!”

“Listen,” the doctor explained, “you need to get your son the insulin he needs, or else he’s going to be back here in no time.”

“But I have no way of getting him insulin!” Big Tim said as he tightly clenched his fists.

 “Well,” the doctor said, lowering his voice, “I’ll tell you what… I’ll swipe you a few insulin pump packs and the necessary equipment you need to check his blood sugar levels, but after that, I’m afraid you’re on your own.”

Big Tim and his family went home that afternoon with an awful lot on their minds. They had no idea how they were going to make their monthly payments to the hospital. The bill was over $9,000. Most of all, how were they going to take care of Tiny Tim after the supplies they received from the doctor ran out?

Two days later on the evening of August 26, 2006, Big Tim heard a knock on his door.

“I’ll get it,” Big Tim said as he put down his newspaper and walked over to the door. He opened it slowly. Standing outside was Sister McStikenthamud.

“Well,” Sister said, “I thought you would be working at your bar on a Saturday night!”

“Sister?” Big Tim said, surprised. “What are you doing here? Yeah, I’m gonna get ready for work in just a few minutes, but how did you find my home?”

“It was easy,” Sister said. “The receptionist at the hospital was too wrapped up in her radio show to notice me looking at your medical forms over her shoulder! Your address was out in the open for all to see.”

“Really?” Big Tim said. “Well… that’s kind of creepy, Sister.”

“Oh,” Sister McStikenthamud continued, “I don’t think you’ll find all this so creepy after I tell you why I’m here!”

Just then, Big Tim noticed that Sister McStikenthamud was holding an envelope. “What’s that?” he asked.

“Oh, this? This is an envelope containing well over a few thousand dollars. It’s money for you to put toward insulin payments for Tiny Tim.”

“What?” Big Tim exclaimed, shocked. “Where did all that money come from?”

“Well,” Sister continued, “I had the priest downtown at St. Peter’s Cathedral take up a second collection for your family at this evening’s vigil Mass. Turns out the parishioners were quiet generous! They all understood the suffering that results from this country’s refusal to provide universal healthcare for all of its citizens, and so they were anxious to help out the uninsured.”

“Sister,” Big Tim said, ecstatic, “I don’t know what to say.”

Sister smiled and gave him a hug. “You don’t have to say anything, my dear. Just accept it as an act of mercy. Have a good rest of the night, dear, and God Bless.”

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 5

            Big Tim was very grateful to Sister McStikenthamud and to the parishioners of St. Peter’s Cathedral for their generosity, but he also felt bad for taking their money. He wasn’t used to being the recipient of charity. Big Tim wanted to know that he was able to support his family all on his own so that they could always count on him… and so that he could count on himself.

Furthermore, while Sister McStikenthamud’s donation provided Big Tim with enough money to get by for the time being, where would Tiny Tim be in six months when the extra money ran out? What would happen if Kim, Little Jim, or Big Tim himself ended up sick and in need of medical treatment? Big Tim knew he had to do something. He had to obtain health insurance for his family as soon as possible, or else they were all going to be in big trouble. Financially speaking, things were still looking grim in the long-run for Big Tim and his family.

After a few nights of deliberating, Big Tim decided to take some night classes at local Lackawanna Community College in September of 2006. He had always grown up in a blue-collar family and never saw himself going to college… but hey, if it meant a better world for his family, Big Tim would try anything because that’s the kind of guy he always was.

Unfortunately, despite his hard work, going back to college didn’t do Big Tim much good. He tried his very best, studying at every opportunity he got. He even brought his school books to his bar when he was working. He would study in between serving his customers, often times messing up their orders because of being distracted.

“Hey!” said Fatty, a very affectionately nicknamed friend of Big Tim’s. Fatty was a regular customer at Big Tim’s Bar. “Buddy, you’re pouring my vodka into the cap of the bottle! Why don’t ya try aiming for the shot glass instead?!”

“Sorry, Fatty,” Big Tim said as he looked up from his books, “just trying to study.”

Big Tim studied… and studied… and studied…but it was useless; he just couldn’t pass his classes. He had many valuable talents and gifts, but he simply wasn’t gifted academically. He was forced to drop out of college. But this may have been for the best anyway, because Big Tim wouldn’t have been able to afford another semester of college even if he had passed his first semester.

The fact that Big Tim was academically challenged never bothered him. He liked who he was and received a lot of joy from making use of his other strengths. But now, the fact that he was academically challenged was hurting his family. In a few months, Tim would be unable to provide for the needs of his family because society did not value the gifts he had.

Big Tim had always thought that the world was a fair place, but he no longer held such a belief… not after what happened to his son. He now viewed society as a poker game. If you’re dealt the right cards, you’ll do ok for yourself. If you’re dealt lousy cards… well, that’s your problem. If you don’t have money, it’s nearly impossible to move forward in society… and if you’re just not that bright, then you’re really screwed. Big Tim slowly realized that the only dinner his family would be eating for the rest of their lives would be Ramen Noodles. But hey, at least they come in 26 different flavors.

Big Tim started to become very angry at the world. He hated the world for caring more about money than about people. At the same time, he didn’t like the resentful attitude that was growing in the pit of his stomach.  He decided to look to religion for answers. He had grown up Catholic, and he was a practicing Catholic throughout his childhood, but he sort of drifted away from religion throughout his teenage years. He decided to visit his local bookstore to pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church where he hoped he would find the answers to his questions. He began reading the Catechism throughout his day at work when business was slow… which was pretty much the entire day, every day.

During the day, about the only customer in Big Tim’s Bar was a homeless man known as Bobo the Hobo. Like Big Tim, Bobo was also fed up with society, but that’s another story.

“Feed me!” Bobo the Hobo said upon coming into Big Tim’s Bar in the middle of an afternoon in early October 2006.

“Hey, Bobo,” Big Tim replied. “Do you want beef, shrimp, or chicken flavored Ramen Noodles?”

“Chicken!” Bobo responded.

Bobo never had any money to buy anything at Big Tim’s Bar, but he didn’t need any drinks anyway since he always seemed to be in a perpetual state of drunkenness. Besides, Big Tim wasn’t interested in Bobo’s suggested form of payment, which was the toothbrush that Bobo always carried around in his pocket. So Tim would always take pity on Bobo and give him a glass of water and a pack of Ramen Noodles everyday on the house.

“Hey,” Bobo said one day, “what is that book you’re reading, there? Its green color reminds me of a big moldy clump of roadkill I ate last week!”

“This?” Big Tim answered. “This is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s not bad.”

“Really?” Bobo said. “Let me see!”

The two men began to read the Catechism together each day, and they slowly began to find a little bit of what they were looking for in life. Although Big Tim’s financial life wasn’t improving, his mental health was picking up. He received a lot of fulfillment in reading the Catechism each day. But then, in November of 2006, the well-being of Big Tim and his family received its greatest threat in the form of a man who would change Big Tim’s life forever.

Finally, at about sunset on November 16, 2006, right after the time of day when Bobo the Hobo would usually leave the bar and right before the time of night when the bar would usually fill up with Big Tim’s friends and customers, the silhouette of a man in a suit appeared in the doorway of Big Tim’s Bar. The man coolly strode up to the bar with a devilish grin on his face. Tim thought the man looked familiar, but he didn’t know where he knew the man from. Worst of all, Tim had no idea that this ‘customer’ would completely alter the events of his life as he knew it.

As the man approached the bar, Big Tim piped up his usual cheery greeting. “Ah, what’ll it be, my good man?”

The man simply howled in laughter at the thought of being called a ‘good man.’ No, this was no customer…

This was Dick DeGreedio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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