My friend Dick decided to stop work last week. He simply decided to stop producing for his owner, even though his owner desperately needed him. Dick has been less effective as he has grown older. His best days are past. But he is the only worker of his type which his owner employs and it is very difficult to replace him. He has specific skills that every human organisation needs. His main job is to get rid of the light rubbish for the organisation, as required, 24/7. He also provides pleasure to the organisation and is capable of producing a new product on rare occasions, but this skill declines rapidly over time and Dick hasn’t been able to do that for many years. Nevertheless, his owner greatly values the other two skills he has.
Dick has been jacking up on his owner over recent years. He is capable of producing normally but, increasingly, he just decides to dribble his production out slowly, taking longer, needing more and more time just to take the rubbish out.
His owner has tried tricking him. Using his mind, he transports Dick into a virtual world, full of waterfalls, rushing seas or taps flowing freely – all things that Dick used to like and tricked him into speeding up his work. But these days these old tricks just don’t seem to be working.
Unfortunately Dick can’t speak, so it is hard to tell what he is thinking and why he isn’t doing his job. He used to rise to the occasion when his owner was close to attractive women, looked at pictures of them, or thought of them, or even when he just woke up in the morning, but he’s stopped that too. If only his owner could talk to him to find out why he has decided to stop work, life would be so much easier.
Because he stopped work completely, he had to be taken to a diagnostic shop. The experts there decided to inject him with a plastic tube and catch the rubbish in a different bag, attached to Dick. This overcame whatever objections Dick had. Now Dick is working again, but it may be only temporary. The experts say he may have to have a serious operation that drills out all the gunk that is clogging up his system, so he works like a new born baby once again.
Dick doesn’t like having the plastic tube inside him, or being attached to the bag. He is cowering in the corner, forced to work, but very unhappy about conditions. His owner hopes that this shock treatment will make him rethink his attitude and make him want to work properly again. (If, in fact, Dick actually does think! Many people, including most women, are sure he doesn’t think at all, but just reacts.)
The plastic tube treatment has been prescribed for a week. Then Dick will be given a chance to perform properly again. His owner realises how much he values the menial work Dick does emptying the rubbish. He really does want him to work. And if he doesn’t work after this, unfortunately, more radical approaches will have to be employed. Which may have consequences for Dick and for his owner.