Friday, March 20, 2009

Ironic Thoughts

As terrible as Alanis Morissette's music was during the nineties, she posed an interesting question in her biggest hit. "Isn't it ironic, don't you think?" Please know that I in no way want to be like this dance-pop turned alternative flavor of the decade (sadly). However, I have asked this very same question a few times in the last couple days. Here are my ironic observations for the last week.

My wife and I were talking with a friend about about pregnancy (don't worry friends not anytime soon for us) and somehow we got on the topic of pregnancy tests. We were talking about the fear that is associated with pregnancy tests. I said that I think that it is pretty ironic that almost universally in life, we as humans are petrified of the unknown. Yet, when it comes to things like pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases we would rather embrace the unknown than deal with a truly definitive answer. Most people would rather not get tested and live in the realm of uncertainty than find out what their situation is and do something about it.

I had another conversation with the consultant that serves as my mentor in lean and continuous process improvement. We were talking about consulting and I told him about an interesting paradox I had observed. I told him that I thought it was ironic that the majority of lean consultants came from the automobile industry, but that I thought it wasn't until they became consultants that they truly had an understanding of what the automobile customer truly wanted. I was referring to the fact that each week he had a rental car of a different size, model, brand, etc. but that during a consultant's time in the auto industry they most likely drove the same car to work every day and never experienced anything outside their personally owned vehicle.

As I was thinking about how I would write up this post, another ironic musing popped into my head. I started to think about the headlines this week. All I could think of was the AIG executive bonus outrage. Congress was furious and saying anything from "if you don't want to give it back we will take it" to "I think you should kill yourself." What is so ironic about Congress' outrage? Well if you have to ask, I would say that it is quite ironic that they are enraged about AIG executive bonuses, yet they just passed a so called stimulus worth roughly 1 trillion dollars jam packed with over 8,000 earmarks. It is ironic that they refused to vote on a bill that would eliminate automatic pay raises for congress (almost like a bonus during a net loss for the company). I would say it is ironic that they are not upset about the announcement that the Fed will be buying nearly 1 trillion dollars of Treasury bonds and mortgage securities that no one else wants to buy. Isn't it ironic.....don't you think? Maybe it is more convenient than ironic....don't you think?

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