This is a fable, not as profound as Aesop’s Fables, but with a moral, nonetheless. I thank Google for the wealth of information at my fingertips.

A man went to see a doctor, who asked why the man had come to see him. The man said he’d come for a checkup.

The doctor asked, “How do you feel?” The man said he felt pretty good on the whole.

The doctor looked at the man for a moment, and said “You’re fine. Go home.”

The man asked, “Aren’t you going to check anything, or do any tests?”

The doctor said, “No. If I check anything, you might find out you have high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, an erratic heartbeat, and no cartilage in your knees. You might learn that you’re overweight. Why would you want to know about such nasty things?”

By and by the man got a new job. A pre-employment physical and drug testing were conditions of employment. (This is a modern fable, after all.) The man went to a doctor practicing on contract for the employer.

The doctor said “Well, the good news is your drug test came back clean. I didn’t find anything that would keep you from being hired. Your heart sounds good. The bad news is, you’re at least 50 pounds overweight. Your blood pressure is 167 over 92. Your ALT enzyme count is 80, well beyond the norm. There are some spots on your chest x-ray, which we’ll want to look at again in six months. Probably fluid. Also, I think you will soon begin to feel pain in your knees and legs because your knee joints are bone-on-bone.

So here’s what we’re going to do. The ALT enzyme thing is an indicator of liver problems. You’ll have to give up alcohol cold turkey until we get those numbers back to normal. That could take years. The blood pressure thing we can maybe fix with a daily dose of Hydrochlorothiazide — HCTZ for short. It might make you a little dizzy. We’ll start with a small dose, and see how that goes. We’ll have you come back in six months for retesting. I’ve got some information here about several types of diet that might help you. Choose one, and stick to it. You also need more exercise. Given those knees, I’d say avoid running. Walking will do.

I really wish I’d seen you sooner. Some of these things could maybe have been prevented, or at least lessened. Anyway, I’ll send my report to the company, along with my opinion that you’re fully able to perform the job. You’ll get a reminder for a follow-up visit. Oh, and I really think you should have a shingles shot. The shot can have side-effects for some people, but they’re nothing compared to getting shingles.

If you have any questions, ask away. Otherwise we’ll see you in six months.”

The moral? It’s easy to know too little, and impossible to know too much. (FYI, I looked up HCTZ online when a certain Twins pitcher was accused of using it to lose weight.)

I’m sharing this fable with you because, in my opinion local government doesn’t want anybody to look too close at things. Whether it’s unstable ground, lead paint, unexamined conditional use permits, or expenditures outstripping inflation by 3:1, they don’t want to know, and they don’t want you to know because then somebody might have to do something.

The Quote: “The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding” -Albert Camus

Thom Boncher is a retired marketing communications manager, former Jordan City Council member and Jordan resident since 2003.

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