If Your Only Tool Is A Hammer

May 24, 2010
/ Author: Rick

There’s an old saying:

It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

The quote is attributed to Abraham Maslow and I have neither a reason to doubt that, nor consider it important enough to look up.

I don’t know if it’s original with him, but, not to be outdone, San Francisco writer, speaker and broadcaster Merlin Mann, recently tweeted:

When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a reason to buy a way nicer hammer.

Both statements have applicability to the rather funny story — which also highlights a problem — that I write about today.

Sometimes, when Norm Pattis is apparently feeling down, he writes very insightful blog posts about it.

Me, I tend to go quiescent.

The ideas don’t stop coming: I just lose the energy I need to write the posts.  I stew on some of the ideas a little, but I am overwhelmed at the idea of shouting into the wind.  Too often, it feels like spitting into the wind.

And we all know how useful that is.  (If you don’t yet know, then here’s an assignment: the next time it’s real windy, walk outside and spit into the wind.  It will give you a chance to feel like a defense lawyer.)

In this post, though, I’m not (really) going to talk about that.  Instead, I’m going to talk about the one thing that somehow manages to keep me going, which is the idea that someone has to keep standing up and pointing out when stupid stuff like this happens, that it’s actually no joke.

I don’t know how long the link will stay active, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you: it’s a story about a kid riding his bicycle past a park where, allegedly, he saw what he thought were hundreds of marijuana plants growing.  Right there in the middle of the park. It looked just like this:

This isn’t marijuana. It’s not even close. Well, okay: both are weeds.

The police were called.  They dutifully showed up, spent about an hour pulling up 400 plants — and apparently bragging to the press about what a large haul of pot they got — before taking the “pot” back to their office and running tests.  The tests, of course, showed that their weed was not “weed.”

For those who don’t know, “weed” looks like this:

This is not horsemint. It doesn’t even look like horsemint. I don’t know if you should smoke it.

Right now, Fresno is having a problem with its budget.  Mayor Swearingen was suggesting we try to save money by forcing citizens to take over tree-trimming duties, for which the city has traditionally hired professionals.

Frankly, I’m all for it.

I’m just going to call the cops and report a bunch of marijuana trees growing up around the utility poles in my neighborhood.

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