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A cautionary fable

0 Robert Levine

One fine day, a sailboat (not the M/V Minnow, although their experience was relevant) set sail from port with its trusty crew for a nice sustainable sail across the ocean.

The weather was beautiful. As the crew gained confidence in their ship and the conditions, they raised more sail until their trusty S/V AmericanOrchestra was moving along at hull speed. Aside from the occasional gust and wave, they stayed nicely dry and had a merry old time.

But, unbeknownst to them, the weather folks had screwed up (instead of the latest equipment, they had invested all their money in fancy buildings and bonuses for the top brass) and were making predictions on the basis of barometric readings and week-old pictures from dying Soviet-era weather satellites. So things suddenly went from swimmingly to horrific – massive waves, hurricane-force winds, the radio antenna long gone in a gale-force gust, and a terrified skipper.

The command rang out – “lower all sail!” But there was no way to get the sails below, the hatches all being battened down tight. So the command went out – “all sails overboard!”

The crew huddled below, waiting for their doom in the never-ending, howling wind and the raging seas.

Then the winds died down, the seas calmed, and the sun came out. Having dumped all their sails overboard in their collective panic, they drifted slowly until those of the crew that hadn’t been killed in the resulting mutiny slowly and painfully died of starvation and thirst.

The moral: there’s no point in surviving a crisis by committing slow suicide.

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