Put down your cup of coffee (or whatever you're drinking), and don't put any food in your mouth. I wouldn't want you to get choked or have to spew something out unexpectedly.
Sit down, if you're not already sitting.
If you have a weak heart, make sure your medicine is close by, along with the phone in case you'll need to dial 911.
You see, I'm about to make a declaration that will send many of you into shock, and I don't want to cause any unnecessary harm.
Here goes: Gov. Rick Perry was right. He was bold. Visionary. And I actually was proud of him during that second debate with his fellow Republican candidates vying for their party's nomination for president.
Keep in mind, he was right, bold and visionary only on one issue, but it was an important one that sent his rivals and some of his treasured right-wing base into political convulsions.
During the debate, Perry was criticized -- then hammered -- for signing a 2001 bill that allows children who are here illegally to attend college at the in-state tuition rate.
Provisions of that law require that the students have lived in Texas for three years, graduated from Texas high schools and sign an affidavit that they will set out on a path of legal residency and U.S. citizenship.
That was heresy to some of his opponents and members of the Tea Party who think the only proper way to deal with illegal immigrants, regardless of age or how they got here, is to have them deported.
Besides, to help them get on the road to citizenship is the definition of another dirty word: amnesty.
Although he could have been a little more forceful and articulate on the issue, the governor rightly said:
"The bottom line is it doesn't make any difference what the sound of your last name is. That is the American way. I'm proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them, 'You go be on the government dole.'"
For the GOP contender who is ranked highest in the polls and who has been flaunting his bedrock conservative values, this stance on one element of the larger immigration debate brought Perry down a notch or two in the eyes of some of his would-be supporters.
That position, along with his rejection of an Arizona-style illegal immigration law for Texas and objection to a fence along the 1,200-mile border with Mexico, makes Perry look weak on immigration in spite of his self-proclaimed record on border security and his support of failed legislation that would have outlawed so-called "sanctuary cities."
His opponents see the Texas law on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as a state version of the proposed DREAM Act, which has been stalled in Congress for about a decade.
The national legislation passed the House of Representatives last year but ran into to stiff opposition from Republicans in the Senate, including some who had supported it in the past.
Perry's stand on this issue is a practical one that many people in this state and nation have recognized for years.
If illegal immigrants are going to be here -- and they are -- it is in their and society's best interest that they be educated.
It is my hope that Perry will stick to this guns (or whatever) on this one.
He may not be politically right enough for his Tea Party compatriots, but he is morally right.
Of course, there are plenty of other issues where he is absolutely, unequivocally and morally wrong, such as ignoring pleas for a reprieve for a man on Death Row who was scheduled to die last Thursday.
Thankfully, the Supreme Court stepped in and granted a stay for Duane Edward Buck, two hours after he was set to be executed, while Texas officials sat mum on the sidelines.
Had it gone through, Buck would have been the second execution in the state in a week, the 11th this year and the 236th under Perry's governorship.
His death sentence was based, at least in part, on the fact that he is African-American.
(For more information on Buck's case, see my earlier column, "Not a place for considering a person's race," at bit.ly/qSU8Jk.)