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Knowing when it 'ain't broke' and when it 'are'

by Bob Stealey

EDITOR

No doubt you've heard the expression, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

... Ahh, but if it IS ...?

'Guess there are a lot of people, especially those who may have some "say-so" in the world, who haven't heard the expression, otherwise they just choose to ignore it. And after all, why shouldn't they disregard it?

Hey, it WORKS for them, right?

It may mean expending a large amount of the "green idol" needlessly, but after all, if you've got it, why not flaunt it? Besides, it seems to make some folks feel important and look as if they know what they're doing from the viewpoint of some others.

What puzzles me, though, is that some of those people may have a tough time realizing when things (or concepts) really ARE broken, or faulty, but choose to do nothing about them. This is so opposite of what I was describing just before it. Yet it's true in so many walks of life, isn't it?

Some things that are broken can be detected by sight and some cannot. If you can see a dent in an automobile or a truck, by golly, "somethin's busted."

But if there's a mechanical problem and the car simply won't run, you probably can't tell by looking at it, but only when you'd try starting in up that you'd know this.

Those are more tangible, or concrete, examples of what I'm saying. But there are other examples that are not as clearly visible, although just as real, make no mistake about it.

Here's a f'r-instance for you. Think of the television networks and how they do (or don't) check the ratings on their programs.

Let's say there's a show that airs on XYZ network that, by all indications, seems to be well accepted and quite popular among the viewers. In other words, it "ain't broke." But somebody at the top doesn't particularly like it, and ZAP! By next season, it's history.

OK, let's consider the "flipside" of the situation. Consider, if you will, another program. It's rather "campy" and just seems to be missing something. Besides, it's slumping in the TV ratings. Thus, there's a problem. But someone else at the top seems to think it's kind of a nifty show. No problem! It's a cinch to come back next year, and in an even better time slot.

Whoa! There's something wrong with this picture! What it is, who can say for sure? But it's a much more intangible situation.

It's not what you'd call invisible, because often the figures just don't lie, and there's somebody who can decipher what they indicate. But likely it's unrecognizable to a vast majority of people, most who have never seen ratings figures before.

All the same, there's something broken, but alas, it's going unfixed. Perhaps because virtually nobody would notice the problem.

Realize that these are black-and-white cases, but for a reason -- hopefully to more clearly illustrate my point. Hopefully, you get my drift. Hopefully, you'll agree. But that's your call.

Enjoy your week ahead!

Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438, or by e-mail at rstealey@exponent-telegram.com.