Stan Doughty, a wildly successful one-armed Irishman who is now an American citizen, got his big break in 1990, when he invented an ejector pump for flood control. When asked how he got the start-up money for his pump monopoly, he said, “I knew it would only work if it was presented as a humanitarian thing. We’d have been dead in the water if it was presented as a profit making thing. We got a grant of $150,000 from Heather Durling, and the rest is history. We didn’t stop till we had squashed every competitor.”
“Were,” said Milton.
“If” takes the subjunctive.”
“Yes. Thank you.” There are many ways to divert attention.
Lorelei Saxfried, a little child, asked dumb questions. She saw a movie and asked why Johnny Depp did something when he knew that something bad was going to happen if he did it. In the dialogue below, A. is the Answerer and L. is little Lorelei.
A: He did it because he didn’t know something bad was going to happen.
L: He’s the hero. He knew what was going to happen.
A: It’s only a movie.
L: Even if it’s only a movie, he knew what would happen if he did it. Why did he do it?
A: One more dumb question and I’m going to slug you.
The hard working chief executive officer of an American company that makes an injectable chip the size of a pea talks a lot about humanitarian concerns. The injectable chip began as a tattoo in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The tattoo in Auschwitz began as an IBM punch card produced for the German census of 1933. The chief executive officer, who is a regular guy, talks a lot about the spirit of discovery and inspiration. And meeting the needs faced by the elderly, the sick and the disabled in their difficult situations. He says his company is in it for the public benefit and to help the elderly and sick. He talks of streamlining and indexing their medical records, and making it easier for them and their helpers to have fast access to their information. But if that were just the beginning, and ultimately all the people in the country were required to have chips the size of a pea implanted in their right arms, how could he help but jump up and down for joy at that? It would be so good for the hard-working chief executive officer and for his company. And then, anyone who didn’t have a chip the size of a pea implanted in their right arm would not be permitted to get on an airplane, a train, get a driver’s license, open a bank account or enter a federal building. The chips would then be about controlling the American people. But the chief executive officer, who is a regular guy, never uses the words terrible or population control or loss of freedom or repression or police state. And if you asked the chief executive officer how, if he knew something bad like that would happen, he could have let it happen, it’s a safe bet he’d either tell you “if” takes the subjunctive, or “one more dumb question and I’m going to slug you.”
“Let’s both go fishing,” said the fisherman to the worm.
I am the worm and you are the worm.