Three short stories written by speaker and novelist Anthony Horvath inspired by his conversations and philosophical discussions over the years.
Sally Apple knows how to maximize hospital profits and properly steward society's resources. Health care must be rationed and she knows just how to do it. No one is her equal: except Dr. Honey Synger.
Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Knowledge
The clarion call of science: Knowledge for the sake of knowledge! Well, the first humans to be cloned don't seem to be happy about things. Oh well, science is science.
Bring on the Brave World
The end of all suffering! The end of all religion! How could the noble goals of secular humanism and liberalism and atheism go wrong? There is more than one way to end all suffering, and who is to say one way is better than another when everything is meaningless?
Excerpt from "Polite Company"
Some things shouldn’t be mentioned in polite company. Sally Apple, however, was a sophisticated lady who belonged to the class of women that believed that refraining from telling people what one really thought was akin to participating in the great repression of women through the centuries. Men didn’t care what others thought when they spoke. They spoke their mind and didn’t give a rat’s ass if anyone cared and if someone did, and tempers flared, one would pop the other in the nose and a fight would break out and the next minute the two would be sitting in a bar, the best of friends, negotiating million dollar deals. Sally believed that women who traded in sensitivity were really just under the impression that timidity was a feminine trait. Sally was anything but timid.
“So you see,” Sally was telling the woman sitting across from her, “we’ve got to re-shape the whole system. We’ve gone a long way putting the woman’s touch on society, bringing in the voice of Mother when we won suffrage, and curing all manners of ills. This is just an extension of the same principle.”
The other woman nodded knowingly. Other women would have taken the time to notice this and take it as a cue to continue on. Sally merely continued on.
“We’ve got to see that Society is our child, and like all children, doesn’t know what’s best for it. We’ve got to wipe its nose, you see. We’ve got to make sure it is wearing warm clothes when the temperature drops. We’ve got to go shopping for the food and then we cook the dinner. It’s we who makes sure that the food is healthy and it’s we who make sure that they eat only the right portions. It’s we who manage the available resources and makes the difficult decisions.”
Sally was a bean counter. A consultant, she’d say. But she always counseled the counting of beans so everyone did the math and referred to her as a bean counter. She traveled around the country advising hospitals, clinics, and government agencies on the proper management of resources. Human resources. Physical resources. Financial resources. On her business card underneath her name it read: Scarcity Management Advisor. All resources were scarce, she’d say. All resources had to be properly managed. All manners of bedlam would break out if they weren’t.
The other woman smiled and politely excused herself.
A few hours later, Sally was home. She liked traveling to different places. It was fun to help people see the big picture. She’d stand in a board room and even as she was talking she knew that eloquence and insight was spilling out. She almost wished that she could be sitting at the conference table hearing herself speak just to get the full effect. When she was home, however, she didn’t get the same kind of respect she got in corporate society. For a dozen and a half years she’d been trying to manage this man and her twelve year old son. It wasn’t working out.
“I found a candy wrapper buried beneath the paper plate in the garbage,” Sally stated to her husband, Gerald. Her hands were on her hips in a posture that she had tested to great effect in various board rooms throughout the country but Gerald just sighed.
“I can eat a candy bar if I like,” Gerald muttered.
“Do you know how much sugar there is in that thing? And high, fructose, syrup?” She put emphasis on each word, just like that: high, fructose, syrup. “But that’s not the whole thing. This paper plate could have gone in the compost heap.”
“Just why do we have a garbage can, anyway?” Gerald bit back.
“You’re just lazy, Gerald. Lazy. The whole earth is going