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Eddie Adelman is a writer who lives in Belfast. His collection of columns and short essays is called “Don’t Get Me Started.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the Founding Fathers of this country. Talk about prolific. These guys come up with not one, but three hall of fame documents – the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Not too shabby. If the Founding Fathers were a sports franchise, we’d be talking “dynasty.”

And yet, I can’t help but think that as majestic as these men seem to us, they were just ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times. And likely, just regular guys.  

We’ll never know all the details surrounding that historic Fourth of July in Philadelphia. So who’s to say that the following conversation between Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock didn’t actually take place outside of Independence Hall?  

Hancock: It’s about time you got here. Must be a hundred degrees in that hall.

Jefferson: One of my horses threw a shoe. Fortunately, I had a spare.

Hancock: The shoe excuse again? You used that one at the First Continental Congress.

Jefferson: I did? Well, that was a different hoof.

Hancock: Right. So, how’s everything at Monticello?

Jefferson: You know. Same old, same old. My son wants his own musket, my daughter’s dating a Redcoat, and my wife wants me to clean out the barn. She said, “The birth of a nation can wait a day or two, Mr. Big Shot. Look at this place. We’ve got company coming on the Fourth.” Women, I tell ya.

Hancock: By the way, Samuel Adams is already here. He’s got some ideas for The Declaration.

Jefferson: I’ll bet he does. He oughta stick to brewing beer.

Hancock: Have you tasted his new summer ale? So full-bodied and stout.


Jefferson: Yeah, whatever. So is Ben Franklin still flying those silly kites?

Hancock: Yup. Still waiting for that first lightning strike. I guess the revolution isn’t electrifying enough for him. And speaking of Franklin, check out this new national currency. He’s on the hundred-dollar bill. Alexander Hamilton is on the 10, and George Washington is on the one.

Jefferson: Where am I?

Hancock: We’ve got you on the nickel.

Jefferson: The nickel? I write the Declaration of Independence – The Declaration of Independence – and you stick me on a crummy nickel? I don’t think so. How about putting me on a five-dollar bill?

Hancock: Sorry. It’s reserved for a future president.

Jefferson: What about a two-dollar bill?

Hancock: Two-dollar bill? Who’s gonna’ want a two-dollar bill?

Jefferson: Trust me. Two hundred years from now everyone’s gonna be using them. Anyway, here’s the final draft of The Declaration, just waiting for your “John Hancock.”

Hancock: (looking over the document) Right off the bat, you’ve got “all men are created equal.” What about the women? Can’t we just change “men” to “people?” And down here under the indictments against King George III, couldn’t we just change “merciless Indian savages” to “Native Americans?”

Jefferson: Once again, the political correctness speech. Believe me, 200 years from now no one’s gonna even care.

Hancock: You sure about that?

Jefferson: Of course, I’m sure. I’m Thomas Jefferson. I still can’t believe you put me on the nickel.

Hancock: Get over it. So, you ready to show the declaration to the delegates?

Jefferson: Yeah, let’s do it. I don’t want to miss the fireworks.

And thus a nation was born.

Now, more than two centuries later, we honor those bold revolutionaries who stood up to the tyranny of an oppressive monarchy. A monarchy that would one day grant knighthood to Mick Jagger.

Mick Jagger? Standards, please!