Doing It My Way, with Justice for All
There was once a man who had a beam in his eye. This was no
ordinary beam. It was a great beam made out of Douglas fir
from the vast forests of Oregon, from a tall, majestic tree that
had once housed a nest for a spotted owl.
People looked on the beam as a great inconvenience. It
protruded from his eye exactly fifty-three and one-fourth
inches, and was constantly poking into things. It was an
especial nuisance in elevators and in church. There were
people who absolutely refused to ride in the car pool with
him, and he was seldom invited to parties.
Everywhere he went he was inconvenienced. “This world
has absolutely no regard for people like me," he complained.
“They do not build cars for us; elevators are designed without
any regard at all. Even the public schools are callous to our
pain. I have quit going to church. Something has really got to
Once when he was going on and on about it, his little daughter
said, “Daddy, why don't you have the beam removed?” His
reaction was so violent that she never mentioned it again.
The climax of his anger came when he was refused entrance
to medical school. “There is no reason why I should be denied
a license to practice medicine. I know about eye problems, and
I want to specialize in ophthalmology. You cannot refuse me.”
But they did.
Most men would have given up at this point, but our friend was
made of sterner stuff. He founded Beamology, a newsletter
designed to promote “sensitivity toward Beamists,” as the
masthead said. Soon he had inquiries from all parts of the
country. “The pain people are feeling in this country cannot
be described,” he said. “I am absolutely amazed at how our
people are victimized by the cruelty of others. People just can't
After several months of publishing Beamology, a convention was
held in Philadelphia. Delegates came from all over the country
and from several foreign countries. Our friend appeared on the
Letterman show, and Oprah and Jimmy were looking into inviting
him. “People have no idea of the way our people are treated,” he
“As a result we are organizing the National Organization of
Beamists. There will be N.O.B. chapters in every state in the
Union, and we are organizing a great march on Washington
next year to present our case to the United States Congress.
We need people of vision there.” The most dramatic moment
of the show was a call from a member of the United States
Senate, saying that his daughter was a Beamist. “You cannot
imagine the shame and pain I have felt all these years. You have
given me courage and hope,” he said.
Soon N.O.B. buttons were seen on the lapels and blouses of
Hollywood celebrities. Some went so far as to go to doctors to
have beams installed in their eyes to show that they cared.
This led to a increased demand for Douglas fir, the wood of
choice, and this almost led to a confrontation with environmental
groups. Conflict was avoided when the founder said that it was
not necessary to have a beam in the eye. “Many of you have
beams in your heart, and we know that you care,” he said.
There was no empty eye in the auditorium that night.
In the presidential election, a new president was elected. “It
was the vision thing,” the defeated incumbent said. Congress
could see what was happening, and soon came through.
Legislation was passed to provide special rights for Beamists
in school, public buildings, elevators. There was great resistance
from the auto industry, but when a Beamist ran into a school
bus in Alabama, because he had to sit sideways in his car, the
industry caved in, and made holes in the windshields. This
caused other problems, but N.O.B. was happy.
N.O.B. provided curriculum guides to school teachers everywhere.
“If we can teach children that a beam is normal, then we will have
achieved the goals of our organization,” their spokesperson said.
The break through came in Michigan. The state organization
(M.O.B.) was the first to see legislation through the state house
to provide special rights in school. For a time the governor
threatened to veto the act, but under the threat of a boycott
of the state from national groups, he saw the light and signed.
Before long high school students in California thought it chic
to have beams in their eyes, and those who didn't have them lost
status. “Visualize Beams" appeared on bumper stickers.
Under pressure from N.O.B. and groups with similar agendas,
preachers no longer mentioned beams. There was a lawsuit in
Texas when a Sunday School class sang, “I'll Be a Sun-beam for
Jesus.” “My client has no sun-beams. What is wrong with
wooden beams?” the lawyer for the plaintiff asked. The jury
awarded one million dollars in punitive damages.
“What is normal, after all,” said our friend the night he was
honored for a lifetime of warfare against the forces of reaction.
“We have our people everywhere. Last year a Beamist was
elected to Congress for the first time. We dominate the arts
and the more enlightened denominations are ordaining Beamists
to the ministry. Next year we are publishing a vision-neutral
version of the New Testament and a vision-neutral hymnal. And
I have been made an honorary member of the American Society
Across man's kingdom, some people wondered why it seemed so
dark all the time. Most people couldn't tell the difference, though.
(See Matthew 7:1-5).