Friday, July 22, 2011

Update and The Unemployed Manager Joke - Whatever Works

This has not only been a horrible week for writing, it's been a horrible week for even keeping track of what I wrote. I think I wrote a couple of 200 word bits here and there, but I don't remember when or which ones they were. I did paste them into the document -- so they're not lost -- I just don't know which ones I've counted and which I haven't.

Between the heat wave, and family, and hormones and a whole lot of other things, I am utterly exhausted. Or was until this evening. Tonight I am entertaining myself by doing a Magic of 100 exercise -- generating ideas for holiday mystery and crime stories. This is a good time of year to be thinking up and starting those Christmas stories to post on the blog and such. (It's a little late for submission to traditional magazines -- though some webzines and such might have a short enough time frame. Also, one can always start a round of submissions in January.)

I'm thinking of collecting a bunch of these ideas into a "Writing Prompts" book. It might even be something fun to do quarterly -- like a little writing magazine.

In the meantime: here's the joke of the day:


So there was once this company which had a problem with cronyism. The most useless of their upper managers had hired too many useless middle managers, who had in turn hired too many assistant managers. The administration costs were killing the company, so they decided to fire the deadwood.

Among these managers were two guys we shall call "Tweedledee" and "Tweedledum." Tweedledum figured the best way to keep his job would be to take credit anywhere he could, and he plastered his name all over every project he could find, even those he had little to do with. Tweedledee, on the other hand, was just a tiny touch smarter, and so he preferred to keep his head down, and he quietly made sure he took his name OFF every project out there.

And so, of course, Tweedledum got fired for wasting the company's resources on idiot projects (one of which was Tweedledee's idea). Tweedledee, on the other hand, managed to keep his job because nobody could blame him for anything.

But Tweedledee felt bad about it, so when Tweedledum's unemployment ran out, he gave him a job putting new siding on his garage.

Tweedledee came home that night and saw that the work was about half done, which he thought was pretty good for a guy who had been behind a desk for 15 years. And overall, the job looked well done. However, as Tweedledee watched his friend working away, he noticed something odd:

Tweedledum pulled out a nail, and examined it carefully, and then threw it away. Then he pulled out another nail, and examined it. He examined very nail before using it, and he only used about half of them. The rest he threw away!

"What are you doing?" said Tweedledee. "Those are expensive nails."

"It's a defective batch," said Tweedledum. "Half of them have the sharp point on the wrong end."

"You idiot!" said Tweedledee. "Those nails are not defective! They're for the other side of the building!"

So what is the lesson here?

"Whatever works."

You might be a little smarter than these guys, but the plain fact is, none of us understand everything that happens around us. Nobody knows everything. We're all idiots at something.

Throwing the nails away was a stupid thing to do. It was wasteful, and it may show another reason why Tweedledum lost his job.

On the other hand, even if Tweedledee did not fully understand how nails work either, it was frankly, kind of ingenious to decide to use the "faulty" nails on the other side of the building. The nails get used, the siding gets installed. No waste.

Tweedledee may have kept his job because nobody could blame him for things, but that odd ingenuity gave him an ability to get things done even thought he was not really equipped to do it. It's like Red Green says, "With a little ingenuity, any tool can be the right tool."

See you in the funny papers.

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