We have a neighbour, George, who lives to the…let’s say…south of us. We disagree on some things. For instance, we shop at the Farmer’s Market, and he shops at Costco. But hey, whatever - for the most part, we get along rather well. We invite him to enjoy our garden, and he is great about lending us his gadgets.
George does have one peculiar habit though. He insists on buying a particular brand of gas stove. Every few months or so, the stove malfunctions and George’s house blows up. Luckily, the wily George manages to escape with his life, but his house always ends up in ruins. Despite calamity, George continues to install this same stove, over and over, even though he, and everybody else, knows that the stove is the reason his house keeps on exploding. We’ve learned to expect this behaviour from George, and we just shake our heads when we hear the now-familiar sound of his house erupting.
Recently our household has been faced with a situation that needs to be addressed. Our own stove is not working as well as it has in the past. One element is burned out, the oven takes longer to heat things, and it’s hopelessly dirty (it is, after all, my stove). And so, we find ourselves discussing options as to how to rectify the stove situation. It’s enough of a battle to get me to cook in the first place – we certainly don’t need the added deterrent of a faulty stove.
Upon reflection, I believe that we ought to invest in fixing our stove. It has, until recently, served us very well. It has been dependable and good. However, we have let it fall into disrepair. I cost this option against buying a new one, and determine that fixing our current stove is the way to go.
But other forces in the house rise against me. They say that the old stove ought to be replaced with a brand new one. They get very excited at the prospect and soon, they’ve taken to combing the flyers for deals on new stoves – with vigour. Their enthusiasm is unstoppable - as they discuss the fate of the stove, with excited voices jabbering and flyers flying. And then they see it - a great deal on George’s stove.
When they come to me with this idea, I’m not at all for it. I point out that there are lots of options for the stove, and I remind them of George’s exploding house. I assert that while I realize our stove has problems, it’s not going to cause the devastation experienced by George whenever his acts up.
Luckily we’re a rational bunch and other alternatives are explored. Good thing I don’t live with others who would dismiss my concerns as Reductio ad NeighbourGeorgeium. Thankfully, both me and my household opposition see that it’s not really about George at all. It’s about how much we all love our house and don’t wish to see it explode. And I’m certain, that on more than one occasion, George has contrasted what he perceives to be our market experiences with his own, as he extols the virtues of shopping at Costco.
Hat Tip: Canadian Cynic