I was in a meeting a while back about a project I was involved in, and I made a suggestion that because of some things that had recently gone wrong, the project should be cancelled. An advocate for the project turned to me and said “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”.
I was not happy with this response. First of all it assumed a certain attitude toward babies and bathwater, namely positive toward the former and negative toward the latter. Personally if I had the choice between having a baby and having bathwater, at this time in my life I prefer the bathwater. I like baths, they’re nice and warm and relaxing, and quiet, and they don’t throw up. I’m not saying that if I had a baby that I would throw it out, but I consider myself in control of my life and I know the things that lead toward having a baby and I know the thing that lead toward having a bath. Therefore I am able to discern between these two processes and am capable of choosing the appropriate actions leading toward the outcome of my favour.
And anyway, when was the last time that you threw out bathwater. No, you throw out a banana skin, you throw out the bucket from your KFC, but throwing out bathwater would be foolhardy. First of all, it would cause your bin to leak. And “Ah,” you say, “I might throw it in a public bin so it doesn’t matter it leaks!” No, that introduces another logistical problem in which you’d have to transport the bath to the public bin and that would be more trouble than it’s worth. In fact much of the water would probably fall out in transit and therefore you wouldn’t have thrown that specific water but have spilled it.
But most of all I didn’t like the guys shirt and therefore I would have disagreed with him no matter whether his response was metaphorically flawed or not.
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