Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Disillusioned By Politics

by Anne Sullivan

“Bah, humbug,” said Sylvia when I opened the door to let her in.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, shivering in the brisk air of the two-degree morning.
Sylvia didn’t answer, just scowled as she wiped her paws on the doorway rug. She shook herself spraying snow and mud across the living room , trudged to her indoor bed and plopped down.
“Whatever’s the matter?” I repeated. “Are you grouchy from eating too many Christmas sweets or because you have to make a New Year’s resolution and don’t know what?”
.”None of the above,” she replied. “I know exactly what I want to resolve.”
“And that is?”
“I resolve never to be in charge of any organization involving mice again.”
“Is it the Moushelter that’s getting you down?” I asked, sitting in my comfortable chair to await the sad tale.
“It certainly is,” she said with enormous emphasis. “Here I gave those mice the perfect home with more facilities and comforts than they ever had before and all they do is fight and complain.”
“I’m afraid that’s human, and probably mouse, nature.”
“I will never get mixed up with mice again,” Sylvia sat up in bed and declared with a resounding thump of the tail. “Out of the goodness of my heart I slaved to create superior accommodations for those rodents and it’s completely unappreciated.”
“Face it, Sylvia, your motives weren’t as pristine as you claim,” I challenged her. “You built the Moushelter to get the mice out of our house.”
“Nevertheless, I designed it and I built it and I lost a good deal of sleep in the process.” She whimpered at the memory. “The least they could do is to like it.”
“What are they complaining about?”
“Everything: the accommodations, no bus service, no comfortable chairs in the library, the lack of dairy products, the exercise room, the food, but mostly their neighbors. The Jones mice don’t like being billeted next to the Smith mice. They say the Smith babies squeak constantly. Some of the mice want a more varied diet. Some of them even miss their servings of DeCon. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Every morning they’re lined up outside my office shouting their complaints when I arrive for work.”
“What are you going to do about it?” I asked.
“I don’t know what to do short of shooting the whole lot of them. If I rule in favor of one family of mice, all the others complain loudly and vociferously. I’m just one dog. I can’t solve all their stupid problems.” With that she turned her back to me and pretended to sleep.
After a few minutes during which her sniffing disturbed my reading of the paper, I tried again, saying, “You have now discovered the first secret of leadership: to wit, you can’t solve most problems and you aren’t going to please everybody or, indeed, hardly anybody.”
“So what can I do?” she raised her head to ask. “I tell you, they’re going to drive me crazy. I can scarcely sleep at night.”
“Funny, you manage to snore a great many hours during the night. However, as far as this problem is concerned, you could suggest that the mice elect a Board of Directors and let them fight it out among themselves.”
“You mean like the electric co-op?”
“Perhaps more civilized than that.”
“Like the Senate and the House of Representatives?”
“Like that, but again, more civilized.”
“Hmm.” She considered. “Do these boards actually come together and accomplish something?”
“Sometimes,” I answered. “It can be done. At the very least, they’re out of your hair for a little while and you can have some peace. Then, when fighting amongst themselves is at its worst, you come up with the solution you favor and they’ll probably jump at it just to get it off their desks and onto yours.”
“Does President Obama know about this strategy?”
“I’ll bet almost anything he does. Just wait and see.”
Sylvia gave a long sigh and said, “I’ll give it a try. For 2010 I resolve to let things at the Moushelter take their course without interference until they come begging and then I’ll tell them I won’t help unless they promise to abide by my ruling.”
“Very good, chief. Would you like to wish a Happy New Year to Gordo and the mice and all the citizens of Catron and Socorro Counties?”
“Sure. Why not?”

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