Ideas Like This Endure

Somewhere in Victorian England at the onset of the industrial revolution, you can imagine the snow-swept entry of an accountant’s thriving business which has been in the family for generations. His main offices are in an old building, and his clients walk up a single, elegant marble step to reach the front door. Over time, the marble step wore down until it developed a deep dent that was increasingly hazardous to his clientele.untitled

One day, the accountant asked a stonemason to take a look at the situation and give him a quote on how much a new marble step would cost. The stonemason examined the step and then scratched his head. “It’s a big job,” said the stonemason. “But I suppose I could give you a new step for 100 pounds.”

The accountant frowned. “That’s a bit more than I wanted to pay.” They both looked at the step, and then the accountant asked: “What if you dug up the step, turned it over, and put it back into the ground? Then it would be good as new.”

The stonemason nodded. “20 pounds.”

“Do that,” said the accountant, and he went back inside the office.

A few hours later the stonemason rang the bell. The accountant walked to the door, opened it, and saw the stonemason standing next to the marble step that he’d dug out of the ground. A nearly identical dent gutted on the other side.

The stonemason chuckled. “From the looks of it, I’d say your great-great-great-granddaddy thought of the same thing about 150 years ago.”

The accountant, now also laughing, said, “perhaps the combination of cleverness and frugality are strong enough to endure across the generations.”

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