Prepare Two Envelopes

With apologies to Mark Evanier, from whom I’ve ‘jacked the original idea from, in order to either prove a point, or tell a story, which may or may not be apocryphal.

It seems that in the entertainment industry, in which I may or may not be involved, depending on who reads this, there is a high turnover rate. At the highest levels, in fact. So much so, that Executive Vice Presidents in charge of oh, let’s say Television, would have a job one day, and it would vanish the next. In today’s society, with networking and golden parachutes, the individual in question would be ok, however, he would observe the change of guard, and even shake the hands of his eventual replacement.

This individual in question, let’s call him Tom, gets fired from his cushy job at the network, and at his going away party, meets his eventual replacement, Dick. (aside: punctuation counts.) Tom and Dick share a drink or two or three, and then finally, Dick asks Tom if he has any advice.

Tom simply says, “I’ve prepared two envelopes in my upper right hand desk drawer. When you get your first crisis that you can’t handle on your own, open the first envelope, and when you get to the second, open that one.” With that, Tom walks away, never to be seen again. At least, at that network.

Dick starts his job the next day, thinking nothing of it, and for another six months, everything is fine. Until one day, Unresolvable Crisis #1 occurs. Dick reaches into his desk drawer, and pulls out the appropriately labeled envelope, and opens it. The paper inside simply reads, “Blame the previous guy.”

Which Dick does, allowing him to fight again another day. This time, three months go by, at which point, Dick again faces the no win situation, and opens envelope #2. This time, the paper inside reads, “Prepare Two Envelopes.”

What does this story have to do with anything relevant to something that you may be concerned about? It’s simple. If you’re an American, you’re voting in the election coming up shortly. At least, I hope you are. If you choose not to, then you have only yourself to blame, when the wrong guy gets in office, and that’s my point. No matter who wins, no matter who you vote for, or whatever party you affiliate with, Republican, Democrat or Independent, the winning candidate will already have used Envelope #1 to get elected.

Knowing that, what should we conclude? In baseball, you usually get three strikes. Football gives you four downs. In basketball, you can break the rules six times before you foul out. Hockey sits you down for only two minutes before you get back into the game. However, the ejection process of the Presidential game takes four years minus how ever long to his first unsolvable crisis.

Now, I’m not one to predict the future, and I’m also not one to tell you how to vote. What I will do, is tell you another story, this one science fiction, about a world that knew it was doomed to extinction, but didn’t know why. What they did was, and I find this truly unique, solve the time travel problem. Of course, I didn’t realize we had one, however, before they became extinct, they figured that time traveling to the future would allow them to find out how they wound their way down to oblivion, then return to their present, and avoid and/or fix the problem.

Now, I’m a lover of irony, so, the end of this story is thus: The fact that they had discovered time travel, is what led to the end in the first place. We don’t have any such luxuries this election. There is no undo. Command-Z won’t cut it. That’s Ctrl-Z for the Mac deprived.

So, to review: There is one envelope in the upper right hand desk drawer in the oval office, and inside, it reads, “Prepare two Envelopes.” All that we have left to determine, is, who is going to read it, and why.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Standard Disclaimer.

New Disclaimer: I originally wrote this for the 2008 election. Turns out it’s still relevant less than 3 weeks to go before this one. Who knew?!? 😉

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