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They Said They Needed Eggs

Will Loudoun County repeat the folly of a long-forgotten kingdom of yore?

Once upon a time, in a kingdom named Loudoun, there lived a wise and powerful king. Like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him, he was named York.

In those days, kings ruled with the guidance of a council of eight wise men and women. They met twice a month to say wise things while seated behind a crescent-shaped table. Hence, they were known as the Knights and Ladies of the Crescent Table.

When York IV took over the reins of power from York III, he decided that he needed a council with new ideas. He dismissed all but one – Sir Eugene, who had served three kings before York IV. He then selected seven of the wisest people he could find (who were most apt to agree with his ideas).

When King York assembled his new council for the first time, they all agreed that, while Loudoun was the most prosperous kingdom in the richest land the world had ever known, it needed one thing above all else. Eggs.

“We need eggs,” they said in one voice. “Lots of eggs, the more precious the better.”

When the time came for petitions from King York’s subjects, a gardener humbly approached the Crescent Table, asking for help growing plants for his family and neighbors to eat.

“I don’t see what this has to do with eggs,” said Lady Suzanne impatiently.

Next a castle guard came forward, saying that there were prisoners in the dungeon who were not a threat to the community. Maybe, with some supervision by the royal court, they could be released to their families.

“How does that help us get more eggs?” asked Sir Ralph.

The gardener and the castle guard dejectedly left the room.

At the next meeting of the Knights and Ladies of the Crescent Table, King York proudly announced that the kingdom had been offered the answer to its greatest need. To the sound of a fanfare from the herald trumpets, he placed a covered silver platter on the Crescent Table and, with a flourish, dramatically removed the lid.

The room fell silent as everyone stared in wonderment.

“It’s a goose,” said Lady Janet. “I’ve seen one or two in my province in the west country.”

“Not just any goose,” replied King York proudly. “It’s a goose that lays golden eggs, and it can be ours for 1,000 shekels.”

“Boondoggle!” shouted Sir Eugene, without hesitation. He then burst into song.

“The gooooooose is a booooooooooondoggle,” he crooned.

“What’s that stripe down its back?” asked Sir Matthew.

“It looks like a Silver Line,” observed Sir Shawn.

Lady Suzanne looked dubious. “How do we know the eggs are golden?” she asked. “The stripe is silver. Maybe it only lays silver eggs.”

“It lays golden eggs!” insisted York. Holding up two golden eggs, he said, “Look what it laid in the Kingdom of Fairfax!”

“Those eggs don’t have any jewels,” observed Lady Janet.

“Who needs golden eggs?” objected Sir Kenneth. “What good are eggs if you can’t eat them?”

“We don’t need more chicken eggs,” replied Sir Ralph. “That will just lead to more clogged arteries. Golden eggs are just what we need.”

“We can’t afford it,” said Sir Eugene, and he resumed his song. “Boooondoggle!”

“We could sell some eggs to cover the cost of the goose,” said Sir Shawn, moving beads on his abacus.

“No one is talking about the maintenance costs,” said Lady Janet. “How much will we have to pay to feed the goose?”

“And what about vet bills?” piped in Sir Geary.

“It isn’t worth more than 500 shekels, tops,” said Lady Suzanne.

“I don’t like duck eggs,” said Sir Kenneth. “I only like chicken eggs.”

“It doesn’t walk like a duck or quack like a duck,” observed Sir Geary. “I don’t think it’s a duck at all.”

“Dunderheads!” thundered King York. “It’s not a flippin’ duck, it’s a goose! You all agreed that we need eggs, and this goose lays golden ones!”

“We need more time to make up our minds,” said Lady Janet.

“We need more economic impact studies,” said Lady Suzanne.

“We need to ask the people in the gallery what they think we should do,” said Sir Geary.

Lady Janet was staring intently at the goose. “This goose is no good,” she said. “It leans a little to the left.”

Most of the others nodded in agreement. “A goose that leans to the right would be fine, but we don’t want one that leans to the left,” remarked Sir Geary.

Several of the wise knights and ladies began to chant: “Left bad! Right good! Left bad! Right good!”

“Boooooondoggle!” crooned Sir Eugene.

Before long, the members of the council were all shouting, singing and chanting at once. Rising above them all, King York’s voice could be heard wailing, “My father, what have I done? I need the knights and ladies of your wise council to return to the Crescent Table and take the place of these simpletons!”

But the shouts of the council just grew louder and louder, until they sounded just like a passing flock of honking geese.

They didn’t notice that the goose had hopped down from the Crescent Table and waddled over toward the gallery of onlookers, who were watching the spectacle in astonishment.

“Have you ever seen anything so ridiculous in your life?” the goose asked the assembled citizens. 

“They got exactly what they asked for – on a silver platter, even – and they still couldn’t agree to accept it. And they say geese are silly!”

And then, with a parting honk of disgust, the goose flew away, never to be seen in that kingdom again.

Bubba May 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM
It is a real shame with drivil such as this passes for news. Too bad the county does not have a first class news paper or first class news reporters and instead has bloggers with agendas. Shame on you Leesbuurg Patch for even allowing this sort of thing to be placed under your banner.
Terry Elvers May 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I say good riddance to the goose! I did not ask for a goose, I voted for people who were anti-goose They should represent my wishes No goose! No Silver line goose We cannot afford it, or the mass entourage of vets, beaurocrats, administrators and other people who come with it (and all want money - my TAX money). In this case I say good riddance to the goose.
Jim Barnes May 24, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Fair enough, Terry. Thank you for your comments!
Vineet Aggarwal May 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM
"They should represent MY wishes." "MY tax money." Well, the news here, Terry, is we that live in a democracy. This has to do with more than just YOU. This is the problem with all the anti-Metro, anti-progress people -- they can't look past their own self-centerdness. Think about what this means for others and for future generations, and perhaps you won't mind paying it forward a bit for the greater good.
J(not related to Scott) York May 25, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Thank you Jim! What a good Friday read. Bubba, if you read really good newspapers, you'd know they allow for creative exchange of ideas and opinions including satire.
Tina Driskell May 25, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Honk to the left, Honk to the right. Stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight! Come on folks, the real issue is why we want eggs, not how to get them. As a vegetarian, I want to help the farmer grow veggies. The greater good would be served by intelligent planning from beginning to end, not just by focusing on the eggs.
Dorri O'Brien May 25, 2012 at 01:33 PM
BRILLIANT Jim! LOVE it!1
wahoowa May 25, 2012 at 02:11 PM
The anti-Metro crowd isn't made of the type of people who care at all what happens to future generations. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in," the proverb goes. But they'll even be able to sit in the shade of this tree; they don't care. They don't understand the whole concept of planting trees.
CC Mojo May 28, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Oh, that was brilliant. I love it.
TISH G May 28, 2012 at 01:03 AM
I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch. You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump. And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done. ~We Want the Metro~
g.stone May 28, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Jim. Maybe you could spend some time making arguments based in economics as opposed to fairy tales. However, I do admit there is an anology here, the projections and numbers used by Dr. Fuller were indeed Fairy Tales. Thank you for providing the beggining of a connection.
Janie Oldham May 28, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I am looking to the future when I say, no metro to Loudoun. I don't want to be trapped here with no inexpensive way to get to work. I don't want my kids, grandkids, and great grandchildren to have to pay $30 to $50 million every year, forever, to pay for TWO metro stops in Loudoun. I'll drive the extra 2 miles to the airport, should I ever want to take the subway somewhere rather than force future generations to pay for this boondoggle, forever. We need eggs (roads) and not the more expensive golden eggs (Metro). Why pay for what won't help us now, or in the future?
Jim Barnes May 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM
g.stone, Metrorail has been the source of many arguments already, and I have made a few of my own in a couple of my past columns. This week I thought I'd try for something lighter. Thank you for your comments!
Roberto Costantino May 28, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Well said!
Roberto Costantino May 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Many in the Opt Out crowd are not opposed to Metro per se. Rather, they are opposed to the terms and conditions of the measure under consideration by the Board of Supervisors to pay for Metro Silver Line Phase II in the context of Loudoun County. The feds paid for much of the Silver Line Phase I, yet are offering nothing to pay for Phase II. The County motto under our crest is, "Byde My Time." There is no rush considering what is at stake. Let's get this right: Opt out !
Vineet Aggarwal May 29, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Robert, I appreciate the sentiment of your comment, but the very definition of "Opt Out" implies being opposed and abandoning the project. If instead the Opt Out crowd called for "Let's not rush and let's get this right" then I would agree with you and it would be a completely different story. But you are very clearly calling for "Opt Out" and not "Bide My Time."
Roberto Costantino May 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Vineet, Many thans for your suggestions. Fine, vote no, "Bide My Time." Cheers, t
Loudoun Opt Out May 29, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If the Loudoun BOS votes to Opt Out, Fairfax and MWAA will still build rail to the three Fairfax stations and the Dulles station and Rail Yard. There's a good chance MWAA still builds it to the Rt. 606 station, since they have commercial development planned on their property surrounding the station. All Loudoun would lose would be the final two miles of track past the airport property to the Rt 772 terminal. Loudoun wouldn't have to pay for construction, debt service, or Metro subsidies, and we'd still get most of the commercial development without as much residential. See the pdf attached to this article for more details.
Roberto Costantino May 29, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Exactly !
Vineet Aggarwal May 29, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Can you explain the math behind your statement that future generations will be paying $50 million every year until eternity? That seems like an awfully bold claim. Once you start making actual number projections that are supposed to be valid until the end of time, they start to read more like scare tactics than facts. I'm happy to be proven wrong, but that statement just seems fishy.
Janie Oldham May 30, 2012 at 07:06 AM
You're right, Loudoun staff has estimated ''only" $16 to $20 million a year forever but you know how that is, subways always cost more than we expect to build and to maintain. So some of the better economists are estimating that it will be more like $30 to $50 million a year, forever. The subway in DC is 40 years old and falling apart, so we're going to be on the hook for that, forever. Unless the subway goes away, once Loudoun signs on we must pay for the maintenance on the whole system forever. In addition every ride on every metro is subsidized and since the federal government thought this project was such a bad, guess who gets to subsidize it? Right. Again it's Loudoun county taxpayers and businesses. So yes, it is FOREVER. Surely you didn't think that the metro would maintain itself in the future, did you?
Vineet Aggarwal May 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Sure, I understand that maintenance is required for the life of the system...I just want to know where you got the $50 million a year from, or if you just made it up. It's made-up stuff that I'm trying to prevent from being passed off as facts in regards to this project.

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