Saturday, February 6, 2010

Puggy's magnanimity

My friend and I decided to read "Big Trouble" by Dave Barry together.  It was the funniest book I could think of and I thought he would enjoy it.

The story opens with our meeting Puggy, a guy who has been down on his luck all his life.  He has been wondering around, doing very little and just seeing what comes up.  Soon after hitchhiking to Miami, where he had heard it is warm, he was asked by organizers if he would like to make $10.  That is a good sum of money for Puggy and more than he usually has access to.  He can earn $10 if he accepts a ride to a polling place and votes for the person he is told to vote for.  Sounds good to him and he accepts.  

Guess what?  He even has more chances to repeat the process and earn more ten dollars.  He happily repeats twice more.  He is offered a 4th chance to vote but is told this time, he will only earn five dollars for participating.  

Puggy is favorably impressed with Miami.  He has never voted before, ever.  Now he has voted and earned quite a bit of money.  He feels it is ok to give something back to the system by voting this final time for only five dollars.

This story seems plausible to me.  I imagine people do get to cast votes repeatedly and do sometimes get paid for doing so.  But to me, that doesn't matter so much as Puggy's feeling that he has enriched society by being willing to vote for less.  This is fiction.  There is no Puggy but we can all be lured by good fortune and happenstance into thinking we have achieved something when we haven't, when we have done the very opposite.

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