Irene: So how did your day go, dear?
Bob: Well, I think I've finally figured out the modern economic system...
Here’s the full version of that joke:
“There’s an old joke about two construction workers with shovels working at the side of the road. One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man would come along behind him and fill in each hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was 10 feet behind him filling in the previous one.
Joe, watching this for an hour and a half from his gas station across the street, finally couldn’t take it any more and walked over to talk with them. “OK, guys, I give up. What’s with all this digging and refilling of holes?”
The two men looked at each other blankly, and then one turned to Joe and said, “Well, we work for the government, and we’re just doing our job — that’s all.”
The two men returned to their shoveling.
“But one of you is digging a hole, and the other is just filling it up again. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you wasting the taxpayers’ money?”
“Look, Mister”, one of the men told Joe, leaning on his shovel, “it’s not our fault, OK? Normally, there’s three of us — me, Elmer, and Leroy. First I dig a hole, then Elmer sticks a tree in it, and finally Leroy here puts the dirt back. Elmer got laid off yesterday, so now it’s just me and Leroy.”"
(It’s a story about people doing just their job, narrowly speaking, even when that job becomes pointless or even harmful.)
February 16, 2022