William Shira | Horrifyingly Hilarious
The little things
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 07:09
Please watch Scott Pelley’s interview with Governor Romney from the 60 Minutes segment that aired Sept. 23, 2012 before or after reading this allegory about the importance of details. It contains two sentences taken directly from the Governor’s response during the interview when pressed to provide details on what he would cut to balance the budget without raising taxes. The rest of this article is dedicated to showing the implications of those twelve words in any other situation.
An electrician shows up to your house. You’re remodeling and you aren’t exactly sure if you want to stick with the same handyman who had started the fix-it-up process. The repair was simply not going fast enough. Unfortunately, there is only one other electrician in town. You take him on a tour through the house, show him the current wiring and then ask for his plan to finish off the work so you don’t have to sleep in a cramped corner surrounded by a tarp, which feels too much like a horror movie for comfort. He follows you around, looking very professional. Whenever you mention a problem, he knowingly nods, and then badgers your current electrician with, “Geez. This guy must be the worst handyman in history,” or, “If you stick with this guy your house and everything you love will perish.” His statements terrify you, and rightfully so. They are more frightening than when the tarp had to go up.
After the walkthrough, the electrician stops and says, “It’s obvious that I am the man for the job. I have years of experience. You need someone like me leading this endeavor to make sure you are safe.” Then, confidently, he turns to look you in the eye and continues, after an awkward, dramatic pause. “This other guy, I am sure he’s great and got your hopes up, but he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. I’ve flipped dozens of houses and always come out on top.”
“I would really like to see some of what you have done in the past.”
“Yes. I have references. But I will not release them.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. Unfortunately I think it a breach of my liberty to share these references with you. I’m sure you understand.”
“You present a horrifying case. What will you do?”
“I am going to give you the freedom of sight, the freedom to once more flick a switch and have a light shine down from above, like you once had. And you will see that it is good.”
“That sounds wonderful. But what will you do?”
“Rewire your house.”
“How exactly will you rewire my house differently?”
“Good question. I see your point. And I assure you that by the end of my term as your electrician you will be free in your house once more. That all wires will once more be able to conduct electricity and all sockets will plug in properly.”
“I want you to give me a specific explanation on how you are going to fix the wire dangling above our heads right now as we speak.”
“First of all, I would ensure that it did not hang. I would then promise, as your electrician, to plug that bundle of wires into something — a thing that is far too complex for you to understand. Then I would work my hardest to create a complete circuit that would give you freedom.”
“Can you explain any details?”
“The devil is in the details. The angel is in the plan! So do I have your promise to fix this death trap that you reside in?”
William Shira is a senior majoring in peace and justice studies. He can be reached at William.Shira@Tufts.edu.