We manage what can easily be measured, and measure what can easily be managed.

Where had that sock gone too! It seemed like every time Poof turned around these days one of his socks went missing. How was one expected to maintain order with things disappearing all the time. No bother, there were always socks to be found – carelessly strewn on the bedroom floor, hastily discarded next to the shower, and – if one were desperate – warm and fluffy directly from the dryer.

But ever since the guests had started spending more and more of their day inside, things had not been going as accustomed. It wasn’t just that socks couldn’t stay put under the bed or next to the dryer they had been carefully and lovingly put. No, basically all the little things that Poof tirelessly shuffled around the house were coming up missing. The remote hadn’t stayed buried in the couch cushions for more than a few hours for weeks. Whole classes of items that need to roam to maintain the integrity of the house couldn’t be moved anymore! How could the sunglasses plausibly wander from the kitchen counter to the dining room table to coffee table if the guests hadn’t been outside in a week? Or the car keys! The car hadn’t moved in a month! No one would believe they had naturally maundered their way on top of the fridge. The wallets were easier, plausibly they could be moved anywhere the phone or the computers had been – but of course the guests were always glued to their screens! That was one silver lining – the longer the guests stayed – the less they seemed to pay attention.

Ghost meme
Failed to find author of this dad joke meme

But it wasn’t just Poof who was having problems – many of the others who kept things running smoothly were having to change their routines. For instance Hiss, Creak, Clang and Tap, who were responsible for warning the other residents and scaring off any invaders were suffering under an onslaught of misguided projects by the guests themselves that were severely endangering the houses ability to defend itself! Squeaky boards nailed down, pipes replaced or clamped, dripping faucets stopped, scraping branches trimmed, scurrying pests exterminated, and hinges oiled all the traps, warning lights, klaxons dismantled or removed in senseless unilateral disarmament. It drove the four mad!

Mad without the usual tools of their trade they improvised madly! Block up the dishwasher and the dishes pile up until you can bring those stacks down with a crash. Clog up the vacuum and the spilled cereal might stay around long enough to become a sea of potential crunch.

But these improvisations brought with them other problems – for instance without a steady stream of spoons (and only spoons) to secret away all over the house – how was Poof supposed to maintain the homeostasis of the house?

For the Long Term Residents – and there were many beyond Poof and The Four – things became increasingly untenable, and to maintain order and safeguard the fragile ecosystem of the house they sent Poof to speak with Wall.

Wall was the Guardian of the house, some even held that Wall was the house. But Wall was staid to the point of being slow, steady to the point of being stubborn, and sensible to the point of being stuffy. When Poof delicately layed out the growing problems (who was a stickler for decorum) the reply, following a great period of introspection was, “Get outta here!”. And that’s how Poof knew things were truly well and F*ck*d.

The End.

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