Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Woman Made Me Do It - Adam

      [The Lord] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
      Genesis – New Revised Standard Version.

      One of the tasks I had to perform at my job as a cost accountant was to speak to factory foremen to determine the cause of irregularities in production costs. In particular, one man stands out in my memory; his first response when I asked about a problem was always, “Whose responsibility is that?”
      It was not my job to establish responsibility – my job was to 1.) pinpoint the problem, 2.) fix it, and 3.) set up safeguards so that it didn’t happen again. But the foreman’s first impulse was to determine where to point the finger. (No, not that finger.)
      When I had my accounting business, I often had to visit a client to ask about a problem. Invariably the first response of the accounting clerk was, “I didn’t do it.”
      My usual reply was, “I know, but you are the person who gives me the information. All I want to do is get it corrected and see that it doesn’t happen again.”
      The ducking of responsibility is common among bank tellers, food servers, and countless others who face the public on a daily basis. They may not be personally responsible for problems, but they are on the front line for their employers. Where else can the public turn for resolution of problems?
      The point is that the executives of BP, Transocean and Halliburton were following an ancient tradition of finger pointing with their exhibition before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this past week. The entire outcome of the hearing boils down to one sentence repeated three times, “He did it!” President Obama quickly decried the performance, pointing out that there was enough blame to include all of them plus the government.
      Fortunately, the CEO of BP has stepped up and agreed that his company will pay for the cleanup. The government has written BP urging that they do not limit their payments to the $75M liability cap as prescribed by law.
      As bad as the 5,000 barrel per day leak has become, let us hope that it does not have the drastic consequences for the human race as the disaster evoked when Adam said, “The woman made me do it.”
     Each object came to be a member of a class, and then was identified by modifiers to differentiate it from other members of its class. For example, a duck is placed in the class of “birds,” then identified as the bird with the wide bill, short legs, and other attributes which make the “duck” different from other birds. If necessary, man could name one duck “Donald” in the morning and another one “Daisy” in the afternoon, but he could also speak intelligently about the “flock” of ducks that flew over last evening.
      The Growth Of Language – The Spirit Runs Through It.

      The book and/or a free look inside is available in paperback or on Kindle at Amazon.

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