Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Boat



A plane crashes in the ocean.  Miraculously, 15 passengers survive, and find themselves stranded together on an island.  The situation is dire, as there appears to be no visible means of survival.

Unbelievably, they come across a boat with a pair of oars.  It appears well built, and has a small amount of C-ration type food stored aboard.

One of the stranded passengers has flown the route several times in a small plane and recalls a few inhabited islands in the area, and with some luck, they might be able to use the boat to reach one.  However, the prospect of rowing a boat for a few days is daunting, and will require strength and endurance since they don’t know exactly where the islands are. They will just have to start rowing and hope they run into one of those islands.

Then they see the sign on the boat, in very clear, bold letters:

Warning:  This is a stout boat and very stable.  However, any more than 10 people will capsize the boat, and, because of the way the boat is engineered, it will be nearly impossible to right the boat.  Do NOT attempt to carry more than 10 people in the boat.

In trying to decide upon a plan of action, the individuals quickly start to separate into two basic groups.  One group happens to be made up of liberals and the other group is made up of conservatives.  The L’s want to put everyone into the boat and believe if they are very careful, they will not capsize the boat.  The C’s want to select 10 people from the group as recommended to insure the boat will not capsize, leaving five people behind, and hope they can get to a neighboring inhabited island and return with help to save the people left behind.

If the L’s win the day…

Everyone jumps into the boat.  The two strongest men present are instructed to row the boat, while the others uniformly space themselves around the edges and try not to capsize the boat.  The seas are calm, and everything appears to go along smoothly.

When it’s time to eat, the food is rationed to everyone, but more food is given to the elderly and the children, because they are, after all, weak and need it more.  The young men rowing the boat are not given as much because they are, after all, healthy and strong.  Everyone is feeling good about the situation, and how fair it is.

But rowing the boat proves to be strenuous, and with so many people in the boat it is riding lower in the water than it’s designed for, and, therefore, has more drag.  After a while, the young men rowing the boat begin to weaken from lack of food and water, and with no one else strong enough to row the boat, it starts to drift.  The others, perplexed by the seeming lack of desire of the young men to row hard, start to get irritated with the young men, and tell them that they will get even less food if they don’t row harder.

But alas, the young men are eventually completely spent and can’t row any more.  And then, along comes a small wave and, just as the sign promised, the boat overturns and everyone dies.  A pity.

But at least they died knowing it was, well, fair.

If the C’s win the day…

There is a determination they should place no more than 10 people in the boat because that is, after all, what the boat manufacturer said.  The few L’s in the crowd insist, then, that the older and disadvantaged people should get the right to be on the boat, but since the C’s won, they decide that it should be the 10 strongest and most capable people, giving them the best possible chance of success.  They explain to the L’s in the group that the only possible way to save everyone is to create the best environment for those who are going to try to row to civilization, and if they get there in time, send a rescue boat back.

So, with many tears, the 10 people going in the boat say goodbye to the ones left behind, with the promise that if they get to another island, they will come back as soon as possible to rescue them, even though it doesn’t look like those left behind will last very long, as most of the food is taken on the boat.

After a few days of rowing, the food is gone and everyone is starting to get tired.  But the young men doing the hard work were fed well and taken care of, so they were able to continue on.  Finally, an island is spotted in the distance and their spirits are lifted, giving them the adrenalin they need.  With their last gasp, the weary group finally makes it, and is taken in by the people on the island. They are saved.

They grateful survivors quickly speak about the people left behind on the other island, and the native islanders immediately set out with food and water in hopes they will get there in time.

Maybe the islanders they get to the rescue in time, but maybe not.  If they do, terrific.  But if they don’t, there is hell to pay.  The few L’s in the surviving group chastise the C’s for not bringing everyone, convinced they all could have made it.  When they get home, trial lawyers representing the families of those left behind who perished file suits against the survivors and scores of miscellaneous others.  Everyone winds up miserable (except the trial lawyers, of course).

The good news; at least ten of them are still alive!  The bad news; it wasn’t fair.

If Hollywood Makes a Movie About It-

The Hollywood Path is similar to the L’s, with the following dramatic changes:

Everyone jumps into the boat.  The two strongest men present are instructed to row the boat, while the others uniformly space themselves around the edges and try not to capsize the boat.  The seas are calm, and everything appears to go along smoothly.

When it is time to eat, the food is rationed to everyone, but more food is given to the elderly and the children (one of whom is sick) because they are weak and need it more.  The young men rowing the boat are not given as much because they are, after all, healthy.  Everyone is feeling good about the situation, and how fair it is.  Except for one guy - a mean ol’ businessman in a suit with a briefcase.  He is obviously a Conservative.

Among the other characters, there is, of course, a handsome young man who is quiet and reserved, but strong and healthy, as well as a pretty young woman who is kind and caring.  When they have been in the boat for quite some time, the mean ol’ businessman starts to pick on the young woman in a nasty manner because they disagree about which way they think the boat should be heading.  After a brief period of arguing in which mean ol’ businessman is hostile and arrogant while the pretty young woman is sweet and intelligent, mean ol’ businessman grabs one of the oars and swings it at the pretty young woman.  He misses, but the oar hits the side of the boat and shatters.  He then grabs another oar and swings it at her again, and again the oar shatters.  The handsome young man, in an attempt to save the pretty young woman bumps into mean ol’ businessman, and mean ol’ businessman falls overboard.  Of course, being mean, he sinks fast, disappearing into the cold, dark water.  Risking his own life, the handsome young man dives into the water in an attempt to save him, but returns to the surface empty handed.  Oh well, he tried.  Nothing is left of mean ol’ businessman except his briefcase, in which documents reveal he was plotting to buy an orphanage, tear it down, and build condos.  There were also some bottles of Perrier he was hoarding for himself.

What are they to do now that the oars are broken because of mean ol’ businessman?  (Some of you might draw a parallel to being up the the proverbial tributary without adequate means of transportation!)  The handsome young man rips off his shirt, grabs a rope from the bottom of the boat, ties it to the bow and ties the other end to his belt, jumps into the water and starts swimming – dragging the boat in the direction the pretty young woman thinks they should go.  It is quite a struggle, of course.  After all, dragging an overloaded boat in this manner is not easy!  But he is in god shape because he was on the swimming team in high school before he had to drop out to support his mom and siblings after his father died from a common cold because he couldn’t get health insurance.

As they go, the young man snatches occasional fish with his hands as they swim by, and tosses them into the boat for everyone else to eat.  He and the young woman let everyone else have the food.  They give most of the Perrier to a young boy in the boat who is very sick.

And, of course, just as all hope seems gone, they arrive at one of the nearby islands where they are all taken in and saved.  Everyone goes home happy, the handsome young man and the pretty young woman move in together, and the sick kid on the boat eventually becomes President of the United States and saves all the children of the Sudan.

In Hollywood, you see, anything can happen if you just have good thoughts and wish it so.

After the fact, the press weighs in.

If it turned out that the L’s decided the course to take, there is a good likelihood that no one would ever know what happened to them.  They are presumed to have all died in the plane crash.  If they do find evidence of the crash survivors on the remote island, they will probably know there was a boat there and that they all tried to make their way to safety, but didn’t make it.

It the C’s decide it, and the 5 people left on the island are not rescued in time, the press will tell the story as it is told to them, but will then extrapolate to make it more than it was.  Among other things they will:

1.          Have an expert analyze the boat that will state that, regardless of the warning, all 15 people could have ridden the boat to safety.
2.          Find a whistleblower who claims that previously to this incident occurring someone had recommend to the manufacturer of the boat that they should increase the capacity to 15.
3.          Interview friends and relatives of the people who were not on the boat, all of whom would have decried the fact that their loved ones were not on the boat.  One woman will say that her dead son’s goal was to be President of the United States and save the children of the Sudan, and she was sure he would have achieved his goal had he been taken with the survivors.
4.          Blame the tea party.
5.          A combination of New York Times columnists will write articles declaring that if liberals had more control over the government the plane would not have crashed in the first place, or if it did, the government would have found the survivors before they perished, or that there would have been an adequate boat placed on every such island long before this happened with a cell phone to call for help, and that converted Al-Qaeda terrorists would have been the first ones there to help everyone.

Yes, Liberals, being such nice people, would have put everyone on the boat.  That’s also why they shouldn’t make the decisions.

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