As of Tuesday, October 30, 2018
I had this really good idea the other day, one of those sudden epiphanies that could absolutely change the world for the better. I have a lot of good ideas — great ideas, to be perfectly modest — but this was a particularly fantastic one. In fact, it literally took my breath away, realizing this seemingly simple thought could actually be the miracle the world has been waiting for, that if fully embraced it could clean the oceans, bring peace to the Middle East and resurrect our flailing democracy!
The only problem is, I can’t remember what it was.
This kind of thing happens to me a lot, especially when thinking as much as I do. I tend to think when my mind isn’t otherwise occupied, a habit I got into a long time ago, probably started while suffering chronic constipation as a small child and honed in my early teens during long summers of breathing glue fumes while working in my father’s boot factory. Back then, there was no such thing as an “ear bud” or even a Sony Walkman CD Player, so when occupied by hours and hours of mindlessly repetitive, mindless and repetitive tasks over and over again, I would be forced to entertain myself or go crazy. Or, perhaps, both.
You see, I’m now old enough to talk about how much better things used to be. Back when America was Great. You know, back before our current presidential administration. But I’m just kidding. I’m even older than that. I remember when color TV was an actual thing. I could tell you that the first color TV my family owned was the size of a mid-sized microwave oven, but that would be a lie because at the time there was no such thing as a microwave oven. That’s how old I am!
(Oh my God, I think I’ve just turned into my father. Ah, nuts!)
You probably shouldn’t trust me, because, well, I’m not a doctor. But I have been a Physician Assistant for the past 30 years, and I know enough about the brain to know that thinking too much is not always a good thing. Thinking too much is like eating too much. There’s only so much room in there, and if you keep adding new ideas, eventually something is going to happen to the ones already in there. Ideas are like hot dogs. And I’ll let you take the image from there.
And yes, that’s a really disgusting analogy, and not even a very good one. But I get paid by the word, so I’m not editing out anything.
Just kidding. I actually don’t get paid at all.
My point being that the human brain isn’t good at sorting out good ideas and bad ideas and, as we get older, our memory storage capacity maxes out and the CPU clears the RAM via the blinking portal snoot not always in a logical, first-in-last-out order. So even though I have way more than my fair share of exceptionally bright ideas, I have an even greater number of really bad ideas that are pushing out the good ones. The ratio is something akin to my Total Cholesterol/HDL Cholesterol. (Feel free to laugh if you understand that reference.)
Examples of really bad ideas:
- Thinking you’ll be safe cleaning the moss off the roof by tying one end of your safety harness rope to the bumper of your wife’s car
- Trying to light anything on fire using gasoline as an accelerant
- Eating sushi in a Chinese restaurant
- Trusting medical advice from the Internet
- Thinking it’s okay to drive the wrong way down a one-way street because you’re doing it in reverse
- Not voting
So the other day, when I had this truly brilliant idea that would not only reverse climate change, but also bring back the tan M&Ms, I had an equally BAD idea that it was unnecessary to write down the good idea because there was no way I was going to forget it.
But not all is lost! I have a few other good ideas that I DO remember.
Try this one on for size: Corporations that care. Most corporate bylaws clearly state that the primary goal of the corporation is to maximize investor returns. But what if lowered corporate tax rates were linked to two additional goals: Maximizing employee compensation and minimizing negative social and environmental impacts?
Or how about this one … a free-market based universal healthcare system. Every year, every citizen gets a $3,000 healthcare debit card. They can spend it any way, anywhere they want — allopathic, Ayurvedic, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, whatever. Absolute free choice, any provider, any clinic. And any money you don’t spend from the card at the end of the year gets rolled into a retirement account. Because citizens will benefit from not spending any more than necessary, providers and hospitals will be motivated to compete for patients both with service and price. Why take an expensive drug when a cheaper drug might be just as effective? Why go to the ER when the urgent care charges so much less? Why pay $5,000 for endoscopy when you can get it done in Portland for $900 and then put a couple thousand in the retirement account? For those unfortunate enough to have expensive healthcare needs, medical expenses above $3,000 will be covered by a single-payer system that can regulate prices based on actual cost of goods and services.
Not impressed yet? … How about this great idea: A better breakfast! You know how good chocolate covered strawberries are? Well, how about Chocolate Covered Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries?! A whole bowlful with a cup of Joe and your buzz will last at least a couple hours — just in time for that 10 o’clock doughnut.
Or an even better idea: Don’t forget to vote!!