Mr. Repp is a Professional Engineer in Sacramento,
Once upon a time, in a little Dutch village by the
The members of the Commission debated the serious situation at great length and finally asked for suggestions from the assembled villagers. One old man who suggested that they immediately plug the hole was hooted down as a reactionary. Eventually, it was decided that since the problem pertained to the general welfare, it should be referred to the Leader in the
A petition was drawn up explaining the situation, asking for help, and pointing out that 90 per cent of the villagers had voted for the Leader in the last election. Everyone cheered as the petition left for the Capital and no one but the old man noticed that the hole in the dike was getting bigger.
Before long, the little village was swarming with investigators and planners, and even the local elected representative returned from the Capital for a "firsthand" evaluation of the situation.
Almost everyone was happy. The tavern keepers were happy because the newcomers ate, drank, and spent much more freely than the local villagers—it had something to do with "expense accounts." Local businessmen were happy because they anticipated even more spending. The housewives and village loafers were happy because they now had something exciting to gossip about. Only one person was unhappy about the leak—the old man who just wished that they would plug it at once.
The small hole in the dike became progressively larger, and more and more water gushed through onto the lush, fertile ground. Soon, the salt water ruined much of the soil and many farmers were deprived of their livelihood; whereupon, the village was declared a depressed area and government money and administrators poured into the town to help the now-idle men.
The farmers were thoroughly tested and interviewed to classify them for job training in one of the big cities; but, after being told that they would have to move, the farmers vowed that no one could force them to move away from their friends or their village, by gum.
Finally, the government planners announced that their plans were completed and the people had nothing to fear. So much land had now been ruined that the village had been declared a disaster area and more money and jobs were on the way.
The new government aid program planned to set up bucket brigades to catch the sea water before it touched the ground and pour it back into the
Since the sea water was now a foot deep all over the village, the planners began to talk about relocating the villagers to new government-built towns and building barracks and mess halls for young dropouts from the big cities who would soon arrive to man the buckets.
Suddenly, with an awful rumble, the dike gave way; and over the roar of the onrushing water, no one heard the old man despairingly mutter, "Why didn’t I fix that leak myself when it was first discovered?"