Patterico's Pontifications

10/3/2013

GOVERNMENT SLOWDOWN: A Parable

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am



Teddy, Harry, and Barry tied for class president this year. They decide the meals eaten by the children, and the chores to do during free play. Their votes must be unanimous.

Harry and Barry always wanted the kids to have to polish their trophies, and one day when Teddy was sick, Nancy filled in and voted to make that a chore. Most of the kids hate that chore.

Teddy got sick of it and announced his new plan, which the school paper called Teddy’s Starvation Plan. Under Teddy’s Starvation Plan, the usual variety of meals and desserts offered by the school would be replaced by a healthy regimen of the sort that kids hate. Nothing but unflavored fish and chicken, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This was actually the school’s backup plan in case the class presidents could not agree. Teddy decided to withhold his vote for the usual menu until the trophy-polishing stopped.

Teddy’s Starvation Plan was very unpopular — more so, even, than the trophy-polishing chore.

Barry and Harry loved it. “Teddy doesn’t want you to have your cheeseburgers. He won’t let you have your chocolate brownies. And little Timmy has a special menu because of his dietary needs. He will actually get sick because of Teddy.” Barry and Harry didn’t really care about any of this. Secretly, they wanted to bring back the giant tubs of lard the school made available every Tuesday and Thursday. Everyone knew the tubs of lard were horrible for you, but oh! how Harry and Barry loved it!

Teddy said: “Forget the trophy polishing for a second. Let’s talk about the food. I’m fine with giving the class the cheeseburgers. They can have brownies. And let’s get little Timmy his special menu right away. I don’t want him to get sick. Surely the three of us can agree on that.”

Harry asked: “Why would we want to do any of that?”

The school paper asked kids whether they agreed with kids being starved, and who they blamed for the starvation the school was experiencing. Talking with their mouths full of grilled chicken, they said they didn’t like Teddy’s Starvation Plan and they blamed Teddy. Teddy tried to explain to the school reporter that it’s not really a starvation plan at all, and everyone is eating just fine, but Stella, the school reporter, walked right past him like he wasn’t even there. Teddy grabbed her and said “what about Timmy?” but Stella just pulled away and scowled. (Stella, you may have guessed, is friends with Harry, Barry, and Nancy.)

Harry and Barry said Teddy was trying to pit Timmy’s special meals against Doris’s strawberries.

Harry and Barry said they wouldn’t talk about anything — not cheeseburgers, not brownies, and not little Timmy’s special menu — until the usual menu returned. Barry invited Teddy to a meeting and said that if Teddy would agree to vote for the usual menu, they could all sit around a table, eat bowls of lard, watch the kids polish Harry and Barry’s trophies, and talk about whether there was anything they might do.

After all, Barry said, I’ve always tried to work with you, Teddy.

“Yeah, Teddy,” said Harry. “Why won’t you take yes for an answer?”

Stella thought that was a great line and wrote it in her spiral notebook to include in her next article about Teddy’s Starvation Plan. “Teddy Won’t Take Yes for An Answer As Starvation Continues” would be the headline.

Timmy’s not looking so well. But Harry and Barry are still smiling.

Will the kids ever figure out whose fault it is that they aren’t getting the food they want?

Will they ever figure out that the diet they have is just fine anyway?

Only time will tell. Teddy has handed over power to Johnny, though, and I have to say, Johnny looks nervous. He cries a lot and I don’t know if he has what it takes to see it through.

15 Responses to “GOVERNMENT SLOWDOWN: A Parable”

  1. As they said on Dinosaurs:

    We’re gonna need another Timmy!

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. i hate stella she reminds me of carol costello

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  3. Thanks for the comment. Did anyone read this post besides happyfeet?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  4. I did, Patterico. We probably all did. How can you comment on perfection? The most effusive compliment would still have been faint praise.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. I read it. I didn’t comment on it. Because if I did Tlaloc would have used that as evidence that h8ful h8y types are just shutting down the gub’mint cuz we irrationally h8 Barack Obama who is a good person and only wants to find out who I’ve sex with to build a database for nothing but good reasons which if we weren’t blinded by or h8y h8tul h8red would be obvious.

    And I just didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.

    Steve57 (234b9e)

  6. Such is my h8red.

    Steve57 (234b9e)

  7. That’s the shutdown… er slowdown… in a nutshell.

    You’d have to be ignorant to be upset with Ted over this situation, and to not understand the way Obama has taken advantage of the very dependency on government he seeks to increase.

    But the school that tied Barry, Harry, and Teddy is SMARTER than the United States. No tie for president here.

    Dustin (303dca)

  8. Read it more than once… as nk said, it stands on its own. That’s the drawback of such a good post. Most you can hope for is a bunch of “I agree” comments (with maybe a trollish one or two, although I notice even they have no rebuttal even after two days. Talk about perfection? That’s your measure right there.)
    :)

    Stashiu3 (e7ebd8)

  9. I like this post but I think if it has a weakness, it’s that it’s too complex to be an effective parable. Parables are simpler and contain a central, obvious, usually moral point.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  10. ==Parables are simpler and contain a central, obvious, usually moral point.==

    Just so. Only skimmed the site briefly. But in my humble opinion the quite simple and perhaps better and more useful parable for the day seems to be over on the excellent “Obama closes the Oceans” thread. Yeah, again I’m raising that pesky thing about “Romney won’t be a bit different than Barack Obama, so why bother voting at all”, or “he’s a flip-flopper so we might as well just go ahead and let the “real” democrat get elected because at least then we know where he stands”.

    elissa (d54563)

  11. It is a good analogy, though.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  12. Patterico, I thought the parable apt. Unfortunately, I’ve found it difficult to speak even at this level with people about the shutdown.

    I was on another social media site, and was pointing out the outrageous attempts to shut down things the Federal govt did not own, did not appropriate funds for, etc. and got back in reply incoherent nonsense about how could I complain about things being shut down since it was “my side” that wanted a shutdown.

    That’s the kind of stupidity Democrats are operating at.

    SPQR (768505)

  13. I’m guessing one part of the parable (ie, “polish the trophy”) was crafted on purpose and with a knowing wink and smirk. Given that one of the characters is a stand-in for the most (in)famous politician in the US right now — and in light of past reports about that person’s off-hours activities in Chicago — the parable therefore is so much more slyly humorous.

    Mark (58ea35)

  14. That’s the kind of stupidity Democrats are operating at.

    That’s why very corrupt societies and situations often are incubated by the left, more so than the right, certainly the normative right.

    Mark (58ea35)


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