What Would You Do? Musing Over the National Debt Ceiling, Delta Airlines and Personal Hunger.

The question had been reverberating around in my head for the past few days, and tonight, it was put to the test. What would you do?

What would you do for a Klondike Bar? It’s a famous jingle, and you likely can recall some of the TV commercials of people doing outlandish things for these frozen delicacies.

What would you do if…?

What would you do for…?

A topic of frequent conversation at the non-profit management symposium I’ve participated in this week has been “the Federal Government and the infighting over the national debt ceiling.”

What if they can’t agree? What if the leadership prime directive, much like the medical practitioner’s Hypocratic Oath of “First, Do No Harm,” breaks down? What if this high stakes game of federal budget chicken results in a full-speed head-on collision like the one in Minnesota? Who gets hurt? What might the collateral damage be? How long might it last?

So many questions, so little true leadership. Pardon the digression diatribe.

A small group of us got down to brass tacks last night discussing what such an event would cause in the macro economy. Certainly, like in times past, the national government would shut down, but this would go much further than the temporary closing of Yellowstone Park and the like.

The U.S. Treasury would be out of money. They would default on bond payments. They would not be able to pay Social Security benefits. They would not be able to fund federally issued college student loans. Yikes! What if it happened this week, and they could not pay air traffic controllers and all commerce and travel were to stop? How would I get home? 1,500+ miles away from Edmond, America, how would I get back to the Little Frau and our Kinder? It made me recall those classic John Candy moments in the back of the polka band truck as “Kevin’s mom” hitchhiked back to her son in “Home Alone 1”.

Well, we finished our conversation, and I actually forgot all about the what if’s and headed to the airport this afternoon for the trip home to Edmond, America and the folks I love.

Then, it happened.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some bad news for you,” reverberated the voice over the small Conneticut airport PA system. People jumped up and rushed the ticket counter almost faster than some of us could groan. Surprisingly, I remained calm and in my seat. After all, it’s not like a global “all cash is gone forever, eat or be eaten” pandemic. It’s just a slight delay, right?

A bad jet engine circuit breaker and two hours of being disappointed later, I caught a shuttle to an old off airport motel, compliments of my friends at “Do Everything Less Than Acceptably” Airlines. It is a bed, no doubt, but it is so much more.

And less. No restaurant. Hmmm. I was hungry. It was going to be a long evening. But, only .42 miles away was a delicious Ruby Tuesday. How can I get there?

It was quite simple. Just walk past the Creepy Mural Abandoned Establishment of Death, past Halfway House Road, and you are almost there. I’m not making this stuff up, folks. Eat your meal, then do it all over again, possibly after dark. I could see getting caught in a drive by shooting cross fire, kind of like the one going on between our federal leaders as we speak.

The first leg of my trek for sustenance.
Second leg of my journey. True story.

And then…there it was: the solution to all of our problems. It came to me while taking my hike to eat dinner: Our elected leaders just need to feel hungry. They need to identify the destination goal,then bravely walk past the Creepy Fiscal Forecast of Abandoned Pledges to the Voters of Death. Then, go down “Meet me Halfway, Barack, John, and Eric Road,” and we can hopefully all safely sit down to eat at the same table.

So, what do you think? If you were in my spot, what would you have done? If you were in the current federal governing role, what would you do?

If I ever make it home from here, I personally think I’m gonna fill the deep freezer with Klondike Bars…