Let’s say there’s a street out there in Hypothetica. On that street is a relatively nice big house with a couple spare rooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a five-car garage. It’s a beachfront house with a yard that stretches from sea to shining sea. A nice family lives there, a husband, a wife, 2.05 children, and a dog (no cats in my analogy, with apologies to my cat-loving friends). The house has a small but imposing fence around it. Next door there is a slightly smaller house, a little more run-down, the yard is smaller but stretches from sea to shining sea just like the house to the north. Another family lives there, a very nice, very big extended family.
One day, one of the folks from the small house moves over into the bigger house. It doesn’t matter who, let’s just say it was one of the husbands in the extended family.
The man now lives in the big house. This brash move surprises the family, but they understand that the small house is a little crowded and not quite as nice, and the fellow is quite decent, so they lodge a couple oblique objections and complaints, but take no action.
The man gets a job, goes to work every day, and even stocks the fridge with beer (okay, it’s Milwaukee’s Best and not remotely anything German). After a few weeks he brings his wife and his 2.6 kids, and they keep their room nice and clean (lets face it, bachelors of any stripe just can’t match a good family team for cleanliness). The family is doing okay in the big house, and they sometimes hand some of the Milwaukee’s Best over the fence to the rest of the family in the small house.
The only problem here is that the family from the small house wasn’t invited.
What does the family from the big house do? They could ask the intruding family to go home, but this is where the analogy breaks down because it’s a simple matter for the family to walk next door in the story, it’s not quite as practical in the real world; let’s just say small-house family won’t leave if asked, they’re too comfortable in the big house. The big-house family could call the police to evict the other family, this would cause angst and aggravation all around. Or they could ignore the problem and let life continue. Maybe more families from the small house will move into the other spare rooms in the big house. Maybe not.
If we could rewind life, the big-house family could have invited the small-house family over to rent one of the spare rooms. That way they would have had a clean spare room, a little spare cash from rent, and extra beer in the ‘fridge.
Instead, big-house family is stuck with an awkward position where if they take no action, they’re spineless; but if they overreact, they’re mean. And it’s nearly a digital difference between spineless and mean.
Maybe there’s a way for big-house family to run next door and help make the small house more livable?
If I were as smart as Travis Patriquin, I’d make a clever PowerPoint presentation explaining the dilemma. Alas!