A certain family enjoyed having a well-lit home. Large windows on the east and south sides allowed illumination of the common living areas for much of the day. Many lights were fixed to the ceilings, all switched on at sundown to eliminate shadows. Inner rooms also featured several lights apiece, such as a row of light bulbs over each bathroom mirror. Even when melancholy winter skies dimmed the daylight hours, the family kept a cheery atmosphere within.
Mostly because he was the tallest family member and could reach many of the light fixtures without a ladder, the father had the responsibility of replacing bulbs that burned out. The family usually kept a few boxes of bulbs in a cabinet, but at a particular time when the mother would have bought another box or two, she was sick and resting. The father filled in on the grocery shopping and didn’t think to buy more.
He told his wife that “Everything is taken care of,” so when she recovered, she assumed that her husband had bought more light bulbs. Then the father became ill and had to spend a few days in bed. During that time, one of the lights in the kids’ bathroom went out, as did a bulb in the wagon-wheel chandelier over the dining room table. Everyone knew Dad would replace them when he was up and about again, so they didn’t worry about it.
The father’s sickness passed a couple of days later. He didn’t notice immediately that a couple of the bulbs had gone out—so many other lights kept the rooms lit that one dead bulb didn’t make a discernible difference.
In the next month, several more bulbs burned out. The father noticed this time, but there still seemed to be plenty of light, so he told himself he’d replace them on Saturday. However, he forgot about a day-long activity the family had on the calendar, so the bulbs weren’t replaced.
It took another two months for the family to realize that nearly half of the light bulbs in the house needed to be replaced; shadows had begun hanging from the tops of the walls, and the atmosphere didn’t seem as cheery. The father went to the cabinet and pulled out the lights on hand, but they weren’t enough. The lost light was now bothering him, and he made a special trip to the store to buy more. Soon, all of the burned-out bulbs had been thrown out and new ones taken their place. It surprised the family how bright the house seemed now.
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