DL Fowler's Blog


Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, SYWS by DLFowler on May 25, 2014

Yesterday I walked three miles (roundtrip) for a beer. I don’t mind walking or even drinking by myself; gives me time to sit back, observe and reflect. I overheard one conversation about wind turbines – mostly about their faults. Another group was building a list of the negative unintended consequences of the recent health-care act.

I doubt there was a false word that came up in either conversation. There are certainly problems with wind turbines and the health-care act. One thing that surprised me, though, was that the first group overlooked my chief complaint about wind turbines. Why do they have to be white? Why can’t they be painted to blend in with the landscape? So their list of problems was certainly not exhaustive.

The notion that jumped to the front of my mind after that was – the double standards we live by. If we don’t like something, perfection is the standard we measure by. But the things we like get a pass on most their deficiences.

Where’s the big picture?

I mean, doesn’t the health-care act get some plus points for requiring that insurance companies pay out 80% of premium income on benefits to policyholders? Shouldn’t regulators get some credit for saying no to insurance companies when they asked that executive compensation and marketing expenses (including sales commissions) be counted as benefits paid out to policyholders? Maybe for some that’s not a big enough plus to offset the list of unintended consequences, but it should be a part of any honest conversation.

And as for wind turbines, why didn’t the conversation include at least a question like, “even with all their negatives, are wind turbines a less bad solution than other alternatives?”

OK – this will give away my age, but several decades ago, there was a TV program called Slattery’s People. It began with the tag line – “Democracy is a very bad form of government. But all the others are much worse.”

We don’t seem to be capable of that kind of reasoning these days. If we used the same logic I overhead in those two conversations, we’d repeal our Constitution and replace it with something not as good.

You see, the Constitution isn’t perfect. For instance, how often do we hear complaints about the Electoral College system – why don’t we elect the President by a majority vote of the people? Remember now, one flaw and a thing is not perfect.

Hey, when the Constitution was ratified, it included provisions that protected the institution of slavery, even though every other civilized nation in the world at that time had banned it. And the thing’s been amended about two-dozen times. How much more imperfect can a constitution be?

I once saw a greeting card that went something like this: If you don’t like someone, the way they hold their fork can make you go nuts. But if you like them, they can wear a plate of spaghetti turned upside down on their head and you’ll say it looks cute.

Ok – that’s my rant for today. Not only does perfection suck, it doesn’t exist. So if you’re using the fantasy of perfection as a measuring stick, pull up your big boy/girl pants and join reality.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in. The only rule is – play nice or I’ll bounce your comment into the trash bin.

Oh – and happy Memorial Day. Thanks to all you folks who ever wore our country’s uniform, whether or not I agreed with your duty station. It was your duty to be there, wherever they sent you, and I applaud you for doing a very difficult job, and doing it with all your heart.

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  1. morriss003 said, on May 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Good reasoning


  2. Brett Gadbois said, on May 26, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Hi Larry,
    Well said. I remember working on branding and a website for the Bainbridge Island Tourism Alliance, four groups with one goal: increase awareness and participation for potential tourists to come visit Bainbridge Island. We came up with great stuff for the stakeholders: brochure, tag lines, copy, website and logo. Invariably, design by committee reared it’s multiple heads. I stressed to the group: don’t throw great away on the way to perfect. I believe perfect is not obtainable through our conscious mind. It usually happens when we’re immersed in whatever we’re doing. The result? I’ve often looked back back over my shoulder and said, “Wow, that was perfect.”


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