I stopped, then. There was nothing on the line. Silence. I said, Randall? He goes, Yeah, Iâ€™m here. I said, Does any of that make sense? He says, Yeah, but weâ€™re still not going to do it. See, when you run the numbers what you find is that weâ€™re actually better off running a shitty network than making the investment to build a good one. Itâ€™s just numbers, Steve. You canâ€™t charge enough to get a return on the investment.
Now there was silence again. This time I was the one not talking. There was this weird lump in my throat, this tightness in my chest. I had this vision of the future â€” a ruined empire, run by number crunchers, squalid and stupid and puffed up with phony patriotism, settling for a long slow decline.
â€œOkay,â€ I said. â€œNice talking to you.â€ Then I hung up .
This rings too sadly true.