January 31, 2013

Several years ago I was traveling from Atlanta to Kansas City on one of our nation’s airlines—Delta to be exact.    I previously had been referred to a gentleman who had issues with equipment used in manufacturing a product he designed in his garage eight years earlier.  He persevered, found an investor willing to support his efforts to commercialize his designs, moved out of the garage and was now involved in full-fledged production of the product.   Great success story repeated every year in our country.   The equipment and tooling in question was designed and built by a company no longer in business so he had no recourse unless he wanted to start all over.    Fix it or trash it.   The only two choices he had.   I agreed to take a look.   All he had to do was cover my expenses and I would waive my hourly rate, determine if I could bring about a resolution to the problem, make my report and let him decide on how to proceed.      That’s not really what this is about.

While in flight, there was a modest decompression of the cabin.  The oxygen masks came tumbling down from their compartments in absolute unison.     To her great credit, the lead member of the cabin crew immediately announced:

Ladies and gentlemen as you can see, the oxygen masks have deployed.  Every adult needs to put his or her mask on first—then help the elderly and children place and adjust theirs.  Please do this right now.  We will be coming down the aisles to aid anyone who is having difficulties.  Please do this NOW.”  

Please Note:  The adults were required to save themselves FIRST so they could save others, if needed.

We did—all of us.   Amazingly enough, there was no real panic.  No screaming, no hyperventilating, no evidence of anyone praying; only the immediate need to do as we were told.     The story has a happy ending.  The pilot, I was later told, requested an immediate clearance to descend and was given priority over other aircraft in flight.  Fortunately, an alternate airport was very close and we landed without mishap.  I have no idea as to what caused the decompression.  All I know is we dodged a bullet on this one.

Our country, in my opinion, is in this condition right now.   We do not need to panic, but adults need to take over to insure the ship of state reaches safe harbor.   We need to address the “big things” first.  Remarkable debt, spending like drunken sailors on shore leave, unemployment—you get the picture.  When  workable solutions are found and implemented, we then can address those interesting things such as:  gay marriage, whether or not contraception can be made available to children in middle-school,   arresting five year olds for pointing a finger to fire an imaginary gun, worrying about Kim Kardasian’s pregnancy, etc.  (This is where you make your own list.)  This week, we were told that, for the first time in a long time, our GDP had declined.   A negative 0.10 percent.  You say not that much—I say any decline is too much and could possibly be an indicator that more is to come.   We need to make the tough decisions NOW because this time next year may be too late.   We can’t save the world if we  are unwilling to save ourselves.  I worry about whether or not we are beyond the tipping point.  We have also recently learned that our Legislative Branch has “kicked the can down the road”—again.  We have three months in which the debt ceiling can be contemplated.  Our government will continue running on borrowed money with no one seemingly worried.     “NOW is really the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

I would certainly appreciate your comments on this one.

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