Jonathan Swift, an 18th Century writer I was introduced to as an English major in college, grabbed my attention and loyalty with the statement, “He was a bold man who first ate an oyster.”
I’ve hated oysters for their look, their texture and their taste; and also because, as a child, oyster stew was the Christmas Eve fare that stood between me and the time when we could begin opening presents under the Christmas tree.
But I have loved Swift’s metaphor.
Imagine the courage – or the desperation – of the first person to eat an oyster … or any other ugly, slimy critter ... raw!
But it is often this person, bold or desperate enough, who looks past appearances to tackle something of such unpleasant prospects, who actually makes the discovery or connects the dots or makes the breakthrough necessary for real progress.
What are the most unappetizing issues before us? Transfers? Football scheduling? Specialization? What unappealing solutions might we be avoiding because they look so awful? Are we bold enough to take a bite out of them?