Speaking from Experience

by Arthur W. Anderson

Whatever happened to the mechanic you know—the guy who had his shop a few doors down from the bakery? He may have charged only a fraction less than the big shops, but you had the feeling that he gave personal attention to your car.

What got me on this subject was a problem I had with my brakes. I found a promising special on brakes in the local paper. This led me to a small shop where the fellow at the desk also worked as a mechanic. Though the office was dingy and unimpressive, with an old coffee maker in thecorner, it had a top-notch computer to record and spit out every itty-bitty transaction.

Diagnosis first! Sure enough, my brakes were crying for help. I was told that if the brakes had frozen. I could have been thrown off a bridge. Throw out the $39 special. We are talking humongous bucks! I hesitated a few moments and succumbed.

Now, the point of this is not that I was taken. I do not think I was. But somewhere along the way in our passion for professionalism, abetted by our technology and systems-consciousness, we seem to have forgotten about ordinary people and their situations. A computerized letter from a faceless corporation or medical clinic demanding payment next week or the account goes to the collection agency can make hell for a household

I don’t really want to go back to square one when it comes to cars, health care, educational reform, or denominational affairs, but I would like to see networks involving real, caring human beings who don’t just swallow us up whole.

Maybe the late Gustaf F. Johnson was right that in the Bible yeast is a symbol of evil.

[A.W.A. explains that yeast is inflationary. You can take it from there. —Ed.]