Declining the rose-colored glasses

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While in New Castle last week I ran into Voltaire and his friend Dr Pangloss.   The following conversation took place between myself and Dr Pangloss;  Voltaire seemed quite drowsy.

Myself: “So what brings you to our county?”

Dr. Pangloss: “We heard that your county, during this recession and falling property values and tax base, is still so optimistic that you have gone on a building spree.”

Myself: “Yes, our wise leaders seem to be very optimistic.”

Dr. Pangloss: “What wonderful buildings they are!  And ballfields too!  And now I hear that they are planning a new library too!”

Myself: “But I worry about the financing.   And big wonderful buildings have big maintenance costs and need for more personnel.  Already we have had to hire a full- time parks manager.”

Dr. Pangloss: “ Ah, but you worry too much.  Surely, if you need more money you can milk it out of your rich Uncle Sam.”

Myself: “So you don’t think we will need to raise taxes to finance all of these projects?”

Dr. Pangloss: “You do worry too much.  Trust your wise leadership.  Tell me more about your glorious new library.”

Myself: “Well, its going to be in Eminence.”

Dr. Pangloss: “Not in the center of the county? But Judge Brent feels that central services should be centrally located.  Remember his parks editorial?”

Myself: “Yes, but you don’t understand Henry County tradition.  Anyway, the library is being built on faith. In Kentucky. libraries are audited just every four years and their audits don’t need to be published.  So we have no idea about the need for financing, the cost of upkeep or the cost of new personnel required.  We are told we must keep up with Anderson and Oldham counties.  But the technology is changing.  Ten percent of all new books published in the US are now e-books, many costing just 99 cents to download, which is cheaper than the gas needed to drive to Eminence.”

Dr. Pangloss: “So you don’t need to drive to Louisville to Barnes and Noble and pay $27 for a hardcover book?”

Myself: “No, just download the book on your computer, tablet or notebook.”

Dr. Pangloss: “So the local library of the future will be a small playground, some benches, and a Starbucks with a few dangling Kindles?”  He paused, then exclaimed: “We must build that library now, before anyone else hears of this new technology!  We can justify it, relying on that old Henry County tradition!”

Myself: “But I worry about all of the cost.”

Dr. Pangloss: “Here.  Put on these rose-colored glasses.  They are quite the rage in New Castle.  All of your optimistic leaders are wearing them.”

I declined his rose-colored glasses and  overheard that he and Voltaire were then heading to Port William.

Steven D. White, M.D.