This is what happens when you fly today:

  • You have to leave the house 3 hours before the flight
  • You get annoyed just thinking about the security theater
  • Everybody looks and feels miserable
  • People are not trained well enough to discover harmful items
  • Everybody knows it and still plays along
  • TSA changes the rules constantly to keep us even more anxious

A big charade and the results: Security is still not good and nobody feels safe.

The real result: We pay a lot of money and time and effort to get nothing in return. It’s a silly play that we all participate in and nobody has the nerve to say: “What the hell are we doing?”

Another example: parenting. A lot of parents push their kids into gazillion of programs: violin, soccer, theater, ballet, baseball, chess – you name it. The weekends are filled with driving kids around and not spending quality time together. Parents push their kids into these programs to seek reassurance that they tried to give their kids the best possible childhood. Providing opportunities. I haven’t seen any data to indicate that filling up a kid’s schedule with activities makes them more successful in life.

I call it the “cover your butt” fee. We pay it every time we spend money or time seeking reassurance. We pay double when that act makes us more anxious: “I should do more.”

We pay that fee every time we cover our butt instead of just doing what’s right. I wish we could call out that fee as a line item on the government budget: How much money are we spending to create fear and then spending to address the fear? Each annual report of a corporation should quantify the “cover your butt” fee, products/services that were purchased just in case. Once we can quantify the fee, we can make a judgement if it’s worth the investment.

We overstaff, overplan, overanalyze, overmeet to quiet down our anxiety. How much better governments and corporations would function if they didn’t have to pay the fee to deal with fears?