PhilM
Location: Salinas, CA
Age: 40
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"Only two things are infinite--the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt

"I'm not as think as you confused I am." Someone, somewhere, at some time

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Friday, July 03, 2009
Random parable

A man owned a piece of property with a good sized garden. In the garden was a variety of plants--trees, flowers, bushes. All the plants were arranged in such a way to complement each other . . . plants that flowered in the Spring were intermixed with some that bloomed in Summer and others in Fall, so that the garden had color all year long. Plants which required shade were near the trees, and so on. The garden was too large for the man to tend by himself, so he had gardeners do it for him. But the gardeners were under strict instructions that their purpose was merely to "maintain" the garden--water & feed the plants, prune them when needed, pull weeds, etc. One day, one of the gardeners came to the man asking permission to remove one of the bushes in the center of the garden.

"This bush is sick. I have tried several remedies, but none seem to work. If the bush is not removed, the sickness will spread to other plants as well," said the gardener.

"Nonsense," said the man. "If you remove the bush, then there will be a gap in my lovely garden. It will not look right. And I can not afford to put another plant in its place now. Try pruning it, and use the treatments again to see if the sickness goes away."

"But I have already tried the treatments more than once. They do no good. At least let me move the bush to the corner of the garden. If I swap it with another bush, then there will be no gap in the garden. The new location may help ease the sickness, but if it does not then at least the sickness will not spread to as many other plants."

"Oh, but that will not solve the problem, will it?" said the man. "That will merely move the problem. No, it is better to try to deal with the problem as it is. Try the treatments again--that is much easier than moving other plants around. If that does not work, we will talk again later."

So the gardener tried the treatments again, and pruned the bush, and spent many extra hours trying to care for it. But the sickness persisted, and it spread to nearby plants. Several bushes and flowers died, and even a tree fell. With several plants gone, the soil in the garden began to erode with the rains, and even more plants suffered and perished. Eventually, the man looked upon his once beautiful garden and wept, crying "What has happened to my garden? How did this come to be?" And the gardener shook his head, and packed his equipment, and said "If you had let me move the sickness, this would not have happened. But now, you have no garden, just a patch of dirt. And there is no work for me to do here, so I will not return."

Sometimes you have to be willing to tear a diseased or problem plant out of the garden, and accept/deal with the gap it creates. Otherwise, the whole garden will suffer.

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