Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dead Horse Theory

This old joke comes to me in its most recent version from my friend and co-worker John. It describes the so-called dead horse theory - an old adage attributed to the Dakota Indians which says that, "When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount." While this may be true, there are many other versions of the theory frequently employed in government, business and higher education. These include:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Eliminating burdensome, onerous government regulations which limit the ability of dead horses to compete with live ones.

4. Appointing a super committee of 12 to study the dead horse and make recommendations no one else is able to make.

5. Arranging taxpayer-funded visits to other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

6. Lowering standards so dead horses can compete against the unfair advantages enjoyed by live ones.

7. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

8. Hiring highly-priced outside contractors to study advanced techniques for riding dead horses.

9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

10. Providing additional funding and specialized training to increase dead horse's performance.

11. Conducting a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

12. Declaring that because the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than live horses.

13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

15. Eliminating taxes on the winnings of dead horses.

16. Rearranging the fence lines around pastures to optimize the relative percentages of dead and live horses.

17. Before jumping to the conclusion that the horse is actually dead, making sure you are talking to the correct end (especially important if the horse is occupying an elective office).

18. Holding noisy demonstrations demanding no new dead horses.

19. Mandating that all horses buy health care insurance so that they don't die in the first place.

And ...

20. Enforcing border controls to prevent the illegal immigration of dead horses.

And now it's time to go to work and flagellate my own dead horses. I can hardly wait.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

In academe, #14 is the most common strategy used. No child grows up and says, "Mama, when I grow up I want to be a university dean!"

Voters, in their impatience, tend to adopt #2.

Politicians may use any and all solutions, as long as they sound good in a sound bite.

Mike said...

"..contractors to study.."

I can do that job!! And it wouldn't even interfere with my retirement.