It’s The Little Things That Will Get You

The Metaphor of the Miami Building Collapse.

Someday we may discover why the 12-story apartment building in Surfside, Florida collapsed. 

It comes down to a hair-trigger event, something small and seemingly insignificant, perhaps a sudden jerk on an elevator cable that provided just enough push to cause a loosened bolt two stories down to finally crack apart from the weight of the accompanying rail affixed to a larger beam which gave support to the entire grid of rebar steel which sustained the massive weight of the western partitions of floor number six, which finally collapses upon itself, bringing down two-thirds of a structure in existence since 1981, and has since, been exposed to moist salty-air which softens any plaster or steel over time.

The metaphor of this building coming down portends to what happens when a little fire ignites into a blaze that takes out a city like Chicago. It is always the small things, the tiniest morsel of something that, when forgotten for even a millisecond, can bring about great loss, as best illustrated when a now-anonymous science team member forgot to convert feet to meters so that when a Mars rover approached the surface of the red planet, it perished even before the parachute opened. 

It’s the little things.

“For want of a shoe the war was lost,” said the commander who learned his enemy failed to provide simple foot ware to his calvary’s horses for sake of losing precious time on the battlefield, the one he only so recently acquiesced to his opponent.

You see, no matter how big, or how large something is, ultimately everything is composed of small particles. A faulty foundation, they say, will destroy any home no matter how grand.

Even a great country can come to a fiery conclusion derived on any simple decision made by any number of people. It is rather frightening to appreciate just how fragile life can be thwarted by small events. 

Think about Covid-19. Was it a sloppy lab tech who forgot to wash his hands, or perhaps was in a hurry that night because he had a date with a girl he had just met and didn’t want to be late?

Or perhaps it was a misdialed phone number to a commanding officer who didn’t get the message in time to shut down the operation. 

Rumor has it a month before the 9-11 attacks, then-Sectretary of State Condoleezza Rice thought it unimportant to share a memo from Peru stating Osama Bin Laden was planning on using planes to attack the United States. 

Imagine what might have been different if that little insigificant memo had been read by the commander-in-chief. We may never know if Bush would have responded appropriately. We won’t because someone thought it unimportant to let him make that decision, or like the County inspector who showed up on Monday and failed to notice the cracked bolt holding up a rail connected to the rebar that sustained the wall of the sixth floor of the Surfside condo in Miami.

It’s the little things that will get you.

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