30 Stories in 30 Days #23 – “An Improvement”

An Improvement

Sliding the door to the balcony closed, Eric let out a sigh.  He loved Ron and Thomas dearly, but get them a few drinks in an election year and the never-ending political argument would flare up yet again.

He turned around and found he was not alone on the balcony.  “Sorry,” he said.  “I didn’t realize anyone else was out here.”

The woman smiled and replied, “It’s okay.  I’m not surprised I’m the only one needing to escape.”

Eric chuckled.  “You’re April’s coworker, right?”

“Yes.  Cindy.”

She held her hand out and Eric took it.  “I’m Eric.  I was Ron’s roommate in college.”

“Was he like that in college?”

“Actually, that’s where the three of us met.  And yes, they were like that then.”

After a pause, Eric continued, “Of course, back then we were all … naïve to the point we thought what we said about politics was groundbreaking and things nobody had ever thought before.  Although, the beer and joints probably didn’t help much.”

Cindy laughed.  She looked through the glass into the room at the two men and shook her head.  Turning back to Eric she asked, “And have you grown out of your naivety or just grown politically cynical?”

“Oh, cynical, of course.  I admit, I used to join in their rants – although usually just to throw a monkey wrench into one of their cherished arguments – but my political cynicism really took off after I realized the, what I call, ‘Golden Bullet Paradox.’”

“Golden Bullet Paradox?”

“Yes.  You see, if you could find the perfect solution to a problem, what you call a Golden Bullet, you would still need some method of implementing that solution, a Golden Gun, if you will.  Now, Golden Bullets are damn near impossible to begin with, so to get one and a Golden Gun is impossibility squared.  And then you’d need a Golden Hand to pull the trigger of the Golden Gun to fire the Golden Bullet, so you’re up to impossibility cubed, and so on, and so on.” Pointing in at his friends, Eric added, “That’s my main issue with political ideologues.  They think they have Golden Bullets to all these problems, but they don’t.  They just have regular bullets and they don’t even have guns, so they just stand around … throwing … the bullets at each other.  Okay, the analogy breaks down a bit there.”

Cindy laughed.  “Maybe, but it’s still an apt description.  Is there a way out of your Golden Bullet Paradox?”

“Not with true believers.  My believe is that – especially in politics – you can’t really solve problems, you can only make small improvements.  Of course, if you stand firm on your principles, which can be a good thing, but it can also mean you are unwilling to do the,” here Eric did a stupid little dance move, “juke and jive compromise dance necessary to make these small improvements.”

Smiling, Cindy asked, “Are you saying political ideologues aren’t the solution to our problems?”

“Well, not the way they think.  I believe there are a lot of people working in the dark making these small improvements.  And if they stay in the dark, they don’t attract the notice of special interests.  So I’m glad the ideologues steal the spotlight, become the lightning rod for the special interests, and then others can get things done.”

After a moment, Eric said, “I’m sorry.  You came out here to escape the political talk and I just brought it to you.”

“No, no, it’s okay,” Cindy replied.  “You’re political talk is refreshing compared to the standard political BS we’re normally flooded with.”

Erik shrugged, then grinned.  “Well, hopefully it’s an improvement.”

One Response to “30 Stories in 30 Days #23 – “An Improvement””

  1. One evening I had a bit of a political back and forth on Facebook with mainly one guy but a few of his friends chipped in, and a few hours later I was thinking about it, and one think led to another, and somehow this story – which really has no bearing on the back and forth – came to mind. The thing I like the most about this story is that I was finally able to use – after thinking it up in my naïve college days – the Golden Bullet Paradox in a story.

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