Stay Worried, Stay Foolish!

I have always been inspired by Steve Jobs’s famous speech at Stanford. So motivating. In particular by his use of the word “foolish”. For foolish he meant to be daring, creative and ready to explore paths unseen to the wise. You must be courageous and determined to do that of course, but above all: fool. That is why I can undoubtedly say that Rome has been in these last two years the splendid lab of that foolishness as Steve Jobs did mean it, especially for what concerns public administration, no joking. Let’s give some examples.

When roads  become for many reasons very dangerous as it is in Rome these days, I guess that organizing public procurements for road maintenance could be considered a wise plan, but this would be so for anybody else but the foolish. In Rome, in fact, it has been decided to solve the problem in a very creative way: reducing the speed limits thus saving the money for road maintenance. Amazing, isn’t it?. So it may happen to drive along large roads that seem highways trying not to exceed the maximum speed limit allowed of 50 km per hour, if you don’t want to be fined. Slow but safe. Of course, a lot of fb pages have flourished with the aim of alerting drivers when there are traffic police units in sight. After all, we citizens have to defend ourselves in some way and naturally, I may define foolish this as well in a certain way. Therefore, for our administration fixing road potholes is nothing but a waste of money, especially when only a shower is enough to make all the maintenance useless here. So this is what driving in Rome has become nowadays and you may understand it better if we compare it to another city like Los Angeles mostly inhabited by the wise:

sobrio= sober; ubriaco=drunk

Of course, in Rome the drunk is the one who keeps the straight line as he can’t see or avoid the potholes. Would you like another example? About 20 years ago the then Mayor Rutelli planned to retrain 100 squares, mostly in the suburbs, not only having them cleaned but also creating a lot of green spaces for families and children. Of course, even those squares and green spaces would have required regular maintenance, but unfortunately it did not happen. So, after 20 years they have become just what they used to be or even worse. The problem of green area maintenance regards also the big and famous parks and villas in Rome, the roads and sidewalks where weeds keep growing wildly and the trees which have not pruned for years. If you ventured to read the post that far I guess you have understood that it seems that there is not much money to spend on this project ( nor any other project), so what would you think the foolish have thought about?

Yes, sheep. So pretty soon my dear tourists, you might see sheep graze in Piazza Venezia or walk lazily along Via del Corso to reach Villa Borghese through traffic. Think about sheep manure especially at summer time, what a pastoral sight and smell! Don’ t forget that we are talking about the capital.

The point is that this foolishness is destined to cross the borders of the capital and become national as the party that runs Rome won the national elections almost three months ago and made a contract with the most reactionary and anti-European faction in Italy in order to rule the country. It is a very ambitious contract, indeed. First of all they aim at reducing the public debt. At last, you would say, as we have the third largest debt in the world, but how? Making reforms, reducing waste or combating tax evasion? Oh,no.That would be too wise. The foolish recipe is: not to pay, as they aim at negotiating with the BCE a cut of the public debt of 250 billions of euros for…..nothing.

Maybe, you may wonder, strategies will be implemented to stop the public debt, for sure. Not exactly, as they have in mind a “flat tax”, that is, two tax rates of 15% up to 80.000 euros and 22% if you exceed that income threshold.  That is the revenge of the Sheriff of Nottingham over Robin Hood, who is rolling over in his grave I am sure by now, as that would mean that the poorer classes will be damaged more and pay for the rich. How can it be that a footballer, for example, and a teacher are subjected to a similar tax rate?

And the poor? Don’t you worry, they will be given a sort of “basic income” of about 1.000 euros or more to stay at home. I forgot to mention that those who are holding the reins of the destiny of this country have little working experience. I don’t mean political experience, bur really working experience. One of them before becoming deputy and now candidate Prime Minister, was a steward at San Paolo football stadium and webmaster. Nothing more can be found in that C.V., but maybe I am not fool enough to understand all this.



16 thoughts on “Stay Worried, Stay Foolish!

  1. So . . . are you saying that Job’s advice was a crock?

    I mean, I agree with you (the man foolishly self-medicated pancreatic cancer and died – also, 73.46% of Apple’s success depends on convincing users to pay through the nose for what is essentially a faux increase in one’s value in the eyes of one’s clique).

    Besides, I’ve seen many beautiful pastoral sights move people to think of calm and peace and a state of well-being . . . sheep grazing on gently rolling hills evoke a longing for a time gone by when humans had a greater connection to the land.

    As for the drivers . . . are you saying the skill of the fabled Italian driver is not up to the task of speeding while avoiding obstacles? I’ve driven in Italy (and Rome) and although I’d been too young to drive when we left Italy, being thrown into Italian traffic flow was like slipping into a favorite pair of slippers (rot Ruby or Glass). For the first time in my driving experience, I had no worries that the people around me “knew” what they were doing. Here (in the US) we take a different approach, coddling the unsure timid driver and punishing them who possess the skills to weave and dodge and surpass lesser drivers.

    I look forward to such a time when I’ll be able to drive in Rome and occasionally stop (without fear of becoming an obstacle) to snap a picture or two of the peaceful sight of sheep grazing on urban parks.

    • Dear Emilio, I often wonder when I drive in Rome how tourists can manage as it often seems to me to be the protagonist of a videogame. Driving in Rome has become pure anarchy , more than it used be.
      I’m glad to know that you would appreciate the new pastoral Roman atmosphere, you see, they are right, I am the fool. 😩

    • Anarchy is my driving middle name. I, and many other enthusiastic drivers, enjoy the challenge of non-linear (sober) driving. It heightens the senses and the resulting melding of mind and machine is pure joy.

      But, I fear you’re only trying to entice me to visit Rome so I can spend my tourist dollars and help support your new government. Won’t work.

      I saw Rome once and I didn’t die; I don’t want to tempt fate again. Wait . . . that’s Napoli. Regardless, no current plans — no matter how much I would enjoy the driving challenge and pastoral photo ops — of visiting Italy or any other of the United European Countries (or whatever they call themselves).

      But, I wish you luck and continued enjoyment on Rome’s roads. Remember, you’ll come out of the experience the better driver and more appreciative of the engineering marvel that is the automobile.

      Few get that opportunity. Many here never get beyond the boring driving of a minivan full of kids to and from the local park where they have the chance to see little or no animal life . . . other than a bunch of snot-nosed future drains on society running around and generally disturbing the pastoral calm with their annoying and piercing screams.

      • We haven’t a goverment yet, but I fear we’ll need a lot of your US dollars soon. So you are very welcome to Rome, Emilio.

      • Just have your guys flatter our guy and money will flow your way. Tell him orange looks good on him and you think he talks good and uses good words.

  2. Pingback: Stay Foolish (E-Tinkerbell) | Stormfields

  3. I must say that I was truly convinced that this “sheep-thing” was just a joke. At least, I hoped so at the bottom of my heart. But wait a minute now…..

    Not to mention what happened tonight with this so called “impeachment”, I would really like to hear your thoughts on that!
    As far as I am concerned, I don’t see how anyone in this Country is still capable of believing in politics and politicians. To me they have lost (and for a long time) any hint of credibility and reliability. I know that political topics should matter for any “good citizen”, and I indeed care about the real, everyday problems (as our legendary potholes, waste and lack of any maintanance for public places) but the saddening truth is that politics here have become just another sort of national sport (almost comparable with football) with teams to root for and nothing else but empty words.

    I know that this might not be the best thing to say, but these things really make me want to leave this place for good (though I know that abroad there are other kind of problems).

    P.S: I will be leaving, as a matter of fact, as I got a job in London starting in July. Any tips for the first time visitor planning a long stay? 🙂

    • My Dear, what you saw last night was just a play – I cannot say whether it was a comedy ora tragedy- . They didn’t want to form this government, because when you rule you have to take responsabilities , you have to act in the real world , then they would have been unmasked for what they are.
      On the 4th December 2016 they had been the strongest supporters of the Constitution against Renzi’s “attacks” ( had they understood what he meant to do , they would be the free to act as they please by now), but now they they want the ” impeachment” for the President for having implemented the Constitution they defended so dearly.
      These are moments we have to be on the lookout even if we are politically disappointed.
      I congratulate on your new working opportunity in London. A tip?? Well, enjoy it!😏

  4. It has indeed become a sad mix of Soap Opera and some wierd sport. True showbusiness!

    Thanks Prof, I will enjoy it at my fullest capacity, to say the least! Hopefully I can keep in touch with you and the blog from there aswell.


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