Running in circles while trying to escape a square
I recently rewatched the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan, where Tom Hanks and his buddies go rescue Matt Damon, the titular Private Ryan. It’s a pretty intense war film as far as these things go. I was reminded of this Quora post about how much money has been spent saving Matt Damon from places, which is really solid and holds up.
There’s one scene where a top military guy is in his office and the other top guys are talking to him about how 3 out of the 4 boys in a family have all been killed in the war (the brothers of Private Ryan) and they are debating whether they should go out there and retrieve Private Ryan or how to otherwise deal with this scenario. The main general guy sort of pauses mid conversation, walks over to a random file cabinet in his office, pulls out a letter and starts reading it. At the end of reading the letter he looks up and says “Abraham Lincoln, 1865” or something to convey that the letter he’s been reading from is from Abe himself.
On the one hand, I’m not sure that pulling random Abraham Lincoln letters out of your drawer is really the best guidance for a WWII general to use. Like, it had been ~75 years at that point and technology and war had really changed. I’m sure there are some eternal principles which hold true, but the military should not do a wholesale embrace of “pull out a random letter and do whatever it tells you to do” as a large scale doctrine.
On the other hand, I guess that’s sort of what a lot of religions are doing with their books? Some of the ideas in the books really do hold up over time and you can ignore their literal provenance and origin and just sort of take them as good advice. On the other hand, some of the ideas have become utterly stupid and not aged well and we should knock it off.
I guess my point here is that if you are looking for a top-tier, top-shelf, ace-level POWER MOVE to utterly devastate your coterie of military staff with — look no further than pulling out a random friggin letter from your office desk cabinet full of war letters. These guys were utterly floored and had no good come backs.
Part of me really likes the remote work culture that the pandemic has required and I’d be content to never have a commute again … but in addition to maybe having some nice lunch talks and office camaraderie with my co-workers again some day; there’s now a big part of me that wants to get an executive job somewhere, outfit my entire corporate suite with old mahogany furniture, cram it to the gills with old inspiring letters, and just sit in wait for the day that some young hot-shot MBA comes in with an Excel sheet to show me. I’d put that upstart right in his place by just reading him an old letter that I randomly had lying around.
We need to worry about the area under the curve, but also the shape of the curve itself
With all the official locking down and self-imposed quarantining of the last year, hospital ER visits are down by 42% from pre-pandemic measures of emergency visits. This is both because people are doing fewer things outside in large groups, and thus are doing fewer things which might lead to accidents in the first place; but it’s also because people who might have gone to the ER for their little owie are considering it not worth it to risk a hospital visit, and dealing with it themselves instead.
Since hospital ER visits are down, hospital ER revenue is also down. One cool scandal I’d like to see is that some hospital administrator got really worried about their declining ER revenue and then like, paid off some amoral street criminals to take out some basting brushes and vegetable oil and go around to a bunch of neighborhood playgrounds and just lightly coat all the slides and ladders and monkey bars with a little bit of oil. You could probably gin up some ER business that way.