Recently I wrote about my friend Dick, whose job of waste management had been outsourced temporarily because Dick had decided to stop work, for no good reason. His owner (Lindsay) wanted Dick to go back to work, realising the temporary pipe used to take out the rubbish and bypass Dick was not a very convenient arrangement at all. 

Unfortunately for Lindsay, more disaster struck. The introduction of the temporary outsourcing pipe got infected, making Lindsay himself sick too.  So badly sick in fact that he had to leave his competitive bridge competition in the middle (very bad etiquette) and rush off himself to the 24/7 expert diagnostic shop, to be diagnosed himself.  Lindsay felt terrible – waves of fever, listless, aching.  He spent 3 DAYS in the 24/7 expert diagnostic shop, being poked and prodded, having more outsourced pipes inserted elsewhere into his body factory, before the infection was located, treated and overcome.

After three days, Lindsay had recovered sufficiently to hobble wonkily home, with the solution of waste management removal no closer. Dick remained useless.  He cowered in his corner, angry at being replaced and occasionally deciding to work when he wasn’t expected to, resulting in unexpected spillage of rubbish in various locations in and around Lindsay’s organisation.  Worse, Lindsay was beginning to wonder if his image of himself as being strong, healthy and infallible was gone forever.  Funny how quickly you can lose your self-confidence when your health declines.

After 6 more days of recovery, Lindsay went back to the diagnostic shop and had a very pretty young woman remove the temporary outsourcing pipe from Dick. She didn’t really look like she was up to the job but she took Dick in hand and the pipe came out.   She was confident that Dick would now operate properly once again.

Dick and Lindsay were both very, very happy. Dick was keen to get back to work, having realised he could be replaced after all.  Lindsay was relieved to be rid of the outsourcing solution, as it just wasn’t convenient and it restricted him in many ways, even though it did work a lot better than Dick did, if he was honest.   The young woman told Lindsay to measure Dick’s performance, both inputs and outputs, to make sure he was doing his job and sent him on his way, assuring him she was confident Dick would perform.

It had been a challenging time for Lindsay, but he strode away from the shop into the summer sun, confident that the worst was over.



  1. The insight Graham offers by such amusing and instructive deconstruction, is its focus on the relationship between our individual and our collective body technologies and the agencies that deliver them. The first is under private local management the second is increasingly under globalised/centralised public control. Perhaps only an event called a ‘mishap’ reveals, like a flash of lightning in a stormy landscape [think of 9/11 or the GFC], the true interpenetration of such differing modes of power. Such momentary yet comprehensive illumination of the component roles of the overall system may sow revolutionary consequences. We might conclude [with big pharma, big science & silicon valley] that if we enlist as cyborgs in the new global matrix, we will divest ourselves of our delusions of private power instilled by possessive individualism. Better still, we could turn on the sun of our collective intelligence to bathe in light, the complex landscape of power that we actually inhabit. With such new mapping of power-scapes we might feel empowered to navigate the true interdependencies of our roles. Thanks Graham for your spotlight.


  2. Wow Basil! Lindsay, Dick and I never thought about our issue in these terms before! Thanks for enlightening me to the larger scale issues involved (see also Phil’s comment on TAOD (no.4).


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