Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Island of Conclusions

In Norton Juster's classic children's book, The Phantom Tollbooth, people who jump to conclusions find themselves stranded on a desolate island.

Today's frenzied media speculation on the ill health of South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson and its numerous possible outcomes reminded me of "The Island of Conclusions" that looks so inviting from afar and is so inhospitable up close. The only way back from the Island of Conclusions was a long swim through the Sea of Knowledge.

Most of the Washington D.C. crowd could use a good dunking in that.

I read "Tollbooth" many times while growing up, and I still revisit it occasionally when life gets too weighty. This charming book chronicles the quest of the young hero, Milo, to rescue the two lost princesses, Rhyme and Reason, and return them to the Kingdom of Wisdom. Besides the Island of Conclusions, among the many places Milo visits in his adventures are the Foothills of Confusion, the Land of Expectations, and the Mountains of Ignorance.

It sure sounds a lot like Washington D.C. to me. The Phantom Tollbooth should be required reading for all branches of government, politicians, and MSM. As for myself, well, based on the news lately, I'm due to re-read it.