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Once upon a time, there was a town that had one plumber. His plumbing company had been a family-run business for generations, and the people were getting disillusioned. Being the only plumber in town, you see, he didn't always feel it necessary to charge low prices, or to finish the work in a timely manner. But he did finish the work eventually, and the town did have a reputation for having one of the best sewage systems in the country.

But the people became restless. They wanted change. "We're tired of the old school of plumbing," they said, "we need change at any cost."

A man stepped out of the crowd. "My name is Ronald Crump," he said. "For the past ten months, I've been reading every Popular Mechanics article I can find about plumbing. I know what we need to do to fix this town's pipes. Make me the town plumber, and we'll make this town's sewage system great again."

As time went on, the town plumber found it harder and harder to find work. People were boycotting him. And soon he realized that this town was now the wrong place for him, and he left, taking up a job with a big-city company, at half the salary he'd allotted himself before. Ronald Crump was now the town plumber, and the people rejoiced. At least the people who'd pushed to get him in did. Some of the others weren't so sure. They'd wondered if they'd made a mistake in not speaking up for the previous plumber.

Crump soon realized that Popular Mechanics left out a lot of important information in its articles. He had no idea, when push came to shove, how to do plumbing. Soon, half the town was under water from burst pipes. The other half had no running water at all.

And the people? Well, they were divided into two camps. One bemoaned the fact that the previous plumber was no longer in business. They realized that they'd always liked the guy, despite his occasional faults, because, bad as he was, the system had still all held together. Why hadn't they supported him more when they had the chance? The other camp, which was comprised of the people who had really pushed to get Crump installed as town plumber, were steadfast in the rightness of their decision. One was heard to say, as his furniture floated out the door of his flooded house, "We needed change. We're so lucky to have Mr. Crump as our town plumber. Someone wanna snag that couch, please? It's mine."

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Bruce Toews

August 2017

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