This Can Be Fixed


This Can Be Fixed


Leonard Zwelling

At Terminal B at Bush Intergalactic Airport, the commuter jets line up to transport passengers to destinations within three hours of Houston. At this terminal there are a series of gates along a cement corridor for these flights, but first you must traverse the main gate above the boarding area. Once you get through the upper gate of Hell, you are pretty much on your way—or you’re not.

On Monday I was trying to get to Savannah to meet my son at Hilton Head, South Carolina to play golf for a few days. It’s a short flight—just over two hours. I made it through the first gate on time and was waiting in line to board the plane when the attendant came out (without a microphone) and announced (inaudibly) that the emergency doors on our plane were not responding to the crew and we had to go back through the first gate of Hell and wait for more information.

Shall I cut to the chase? It took them an hour to get a maintenance crew to look at the problem. They assessed that it was unfixable. They then called for a new plane which took another hour to roll out and get its safety check. Don’t forget, the bags and the golf clubs needed to be transferred to the new jet.

We took off at 3 PM for a scheduled 12:30 flight. The plane had been on the ground for hours prior to ETD according to the United web site. Why couldn’t they have checked the doors then?

All the American air carriers leave much to be desired in the way of service, user friendliness, and on-time performance, but why? Weather cannot be helped, but the fiasco that is Southwest Airlines that seemed to stem from too many stock-buy backs and insufficient investment in information systems is just poor corporate management. The Biden Administration has just proposed that the airlines pay us back when they are inept. Good idea.

Now, yet another bank of significant size, Republic, has failed due to a series of poor decisions that echo those made by the leaders of Silicon Valley Bank.

The BW and I marvel at the ineptness all around us and are quite sure this was not the way things used to be. I know. I sound like an old person. That’s because I am, but it does appear that things in the US are going in the wrong direction.

The two leading candidates for President of the United States are members of my generation (or older) and the vast majority of Americans in either party want others instead to be the standard bearers of their respective parties. Will that occur? It does not seem likely, but we can hope. How can we settle for such mediocrity in so many aspects of our lives? What happened to a service mentality with a sense of urgency in the commercial arena? In the medical arena? In any arena?

It just seems like no one cares. Perhaps we have arrived at a moment in our evolution as a country or even as a species where altruism, service, and the concern for others has been minimized and the sense of self-gratification maximized. If this is true, and I believe it is, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are not the cause. They are the symptom.

You have to be impressed that in the streets of Israel, fervent supporters of the state made a difference in backing down the Netanyahu government in its quest to overturn the country’s judicial system. Perhaps, it is time for Americans to go to the streets again and demand accountability, concern, and service from all of its leaders. As this blog has said before, our current crop of leaders seems so ordinary. In fact, it’s a crop of mediocrity.

I am not sure we go about changing this seemingly inexorable slide down, but I believe it will start with improving the education of the next generation of leaders to treasure those they lead and develop ethics, morals, and principles of service that lead to better decisions and a better world for us all.

That’s the sermon for today. After all, I have to get a flight home soon, too.

Dr. Zwelling’s new novel, Conflict of Interest: Money Drives Medicine and People Die is available at:,

on amazon if you search using the title and subtitle,


directly from the publisher Dorrance at:

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