A Folk Tale

A Folk Tale

Author?  Unknown…by some anyway…

  • Once upon a time, in a far away land….
  • There were many farmers and merchants living by a beautiful swift flowing river.
  • There was a crossing at the river where a barge, or small boat could cross, because the river was deep and wide.
  • About 100 years ago, there were no incidents of any drowning’s in the river, …but things were soon to change.
  • A quarter of a century passed and occasionally a few people floated down the river on logs or driftwood and were found by the farmer and pulled to safety.
  • There were medics who treated them and they went on their way.
  • As the years went by more and more people fell in the river floated down stream and were rescued at the crossing by farmers and merchants and residents of the area.
  • Soon, the number of victims increased so much that a hospital was built to treat the unfortunate victims. Some survived, and some did not.
  • A diagnosis of the reason they were falling the river was discovered and it was defined by very competent medical researchers. It was called dyswimia, and it was attributed to a “brain dysfunction.”
  • More years went by and what was once hospital became a medical center, and eventually a teaching hospital and then entire medical campus because so many victims needed treatment.
  • Decades of research studies were conducted and a consensus recommendation was made that a sign and a gate be placed at the source of those falling in the river, but it fell on deaf ears. Too much had been invested in the hospital to offer a simple solution to stop the flow of victims downstream.
  • More time went by and one day a farm boy, some would call him a “hayseed,” wandered down to the river crossing and watched as the many drowning victims floated by.  Many were rescued by competent medical professionals, and carried to very the expensive and well stocked treatment center.
  • Curious about the large number of victims that were being treated each day, the boy queried one of the medical technicians as to where the victims were coming from and why they all falling the river upstream.
  • The answer puzzled him even more. He was told “oh, they fall in the river way upstream and those who make it downstream are treated at our fantastic medical center.”
  • “Oh my, that is wonderful,” the young lad said: “but, has anyone ever traveled upstream and found a way to prevent people from falling in the river in the first place?”
  • Immediately the medical technician said: “Hmmm…you know, that is a very wise question. Come speak to the Chief Medical Officer about that. He might be able to help you.”
  • After languishing in the waiting room for many hours the young lad was ushered into the plush office of the Chief Medical Officer.  He was very busy and really did not have time to speak with the boy, but he did.
  • Again, the boy asked his question. “Sir, has anyone traveled up stream to find out why so many victims are falling in the river and then float downstream to be treated at your marvelous facility?”
  • The Chief Medical Officer frowned and said: “No, and I would really not want anyone to do that now. We have such a beautiful and expensive facility here, with many trained professionals who are treating these victims.. It would be a great loss to interrupt this enterprise. We receive many grants and a great deal of financial support, and it would be a shame to lose all that support, now wouldn’t it?  And, patting the b9y on the head he said:  “You just run along now.   We don’t want to interfere with the status quo.”
  • The young lad left very puzzled indeed….but he vowed to travel upriver and find out the truth of the matter for himself.
  • A few hours later, after making his way to the crossing up river where people were falling in and then floating and struggling their way to the downstream to the medical facility, this is what he found.
  • There was a sharp turn in the road just before the river crossing, and there was also a very steep hill, so that cars and pedestrians came upon the swiftly flowing river so quickly that many of them immediately fell into the river and floated away.
  • He found the Mayor of the town and suggested they place a large warning sign at the sharp turn, and also place a gate there so no one would fall in the river anymore.
  • He also recommended that the schools in the area treat all of the students with the solution to “Dyswimia” that had been discovered long ago by very wise scholars.
  • The Mayor thought this was a great idea and he ordered it to be done, and immediately the source of the drowning victims ceased.
  • One would think that could be the end of the story, but that sadly, that is not the case.
  • The powerful Chief Medical Officer at the wonderful medical facility downstream raised a ruckus with the Mayor of the upstream town, and also with the town folks, that they voted the old Mayor out and replaced him with a person favorable to removing the gate and the sign warning folks of the danger at the river crossing where so many victims were falling in the river and floating downstream, and stopped all of the wonderful education about “Dyswimia” too.
  • Thus the medical facility remained open for business and all of the workers sighed in relief….and no one lost their jobs…and the grants and financial support continued unabated.
  • And, of course, people continued to fall in the river upstream, and about a third of them never made it to the spectacular treatment center downstream.  Ah me…what a sad tale this is.
  • The moral of the story?
  • “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin

  • What a wonder that no one seems to use the “ounce of prevention” to this day.
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