Sunday, May 14, 2017

Surviving Butterfly Wings

Back then one guy --Joe-- was a struggling potter about to make a big life-changing decision involving a great deal of risk in order to continue making pots for a living.

The other guy --Harry-- was at the top of his game -- generating a good income making and selling some of the best pottery being made in the country at the time.

The NEA awarded the meritorious pottery. The NEA panel knew good pottery when they saw it. 

And the NEA gave a five-figure grant to Harry -- no loss of inventory, no pottery required. No months of labor invested to earn tens of thousands of dollars. Just a check for thousands and thousands of dollars to put in the bank.

Meanwhile, Joe took the risk. He believed in himself and his potential as a potter. Oh, to some extent it also seemed the only thing he was capable of doing, but either way, he took the risk on his chances.

Joe went thousands and thousands of dollars into debt.

Adding insult to injury, Harry walked away with the Nation's stamp of approval to take back to the open market --- a stamp of approval that Harry can point to when he's across the aisle from Joe at the market -- that same Joe who was not at the top of his game, already struggling by comparison to Harry's pots. No, Joe wasn't at the top of his game. Yet.

Yup. The Nation spoke and decided who was the deserving potter and who wasn't.

Hey, buying public, who do you think you should be buying from? ...the guy we just told you is one of the 20 best potters in the country....
...or that struggling potter across the aisle there?

I know, right? A no-brainer.

Now it's 30 years later. We can see where the butterfly wing effects ended up.

The risk one potter took is the only burden he cannot currently bear. He didn't really survive it. Not in a manner suitable for somebody his age.

Harry is still making some of the best pottery this country has ever seen. I'm sure that Joe didn't mind such a wise and equitable use of his tax money though, huh?

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