We Live in the “What Happened?” Era — And It’s Not a Good Thing

Bob Gerometta
3 min readJul 14, 2022

Years ago, wen someone said “what happened?” it was a query about an event or some rumor, or asking about the ending of a tale . . . “What happened at the concert?”; “What happened to Joe and Sally?” “And then . . . what happened?”.

But today, it’s about some failure. “The bridge collapsed — what happened?” “The program failed — what happened?” The disease spread unmitigated — what happened?”There are reasons for this change — and none of them are good.

First and foremost, nowadays, the “what happened?” comes after a percieved negative event or failure. It is as if the circumstance was totally unforeseen and we are incredulous that it could have occurred. Nine times out of ten this is pure bullshit. The circumstance was likely discussed, exposed, debated, and any action to prevent it ignored. The “what happened?” is a way of deflecting blame for procrastination or downright avoidance away from those who did just that toward some vague person or group who should have been responsible.

Second, the “what happened?” is a way to scapegoat those who tried to inform of the potential problem — or to find someone to litigate against. Blame fixes nothing — action does.

We are self-absorbed. We live in our own little world — what goes on outside of our comfort zone is frightening, or worse, challenges our well-being. Problems are someone else’s job to deal with. If we ignore it, maybe it will go away — or best, someone else will fix it.

We have forsworn management as an art and replaced it with marketing. We don’t fix things, we convince others that everything is OK — when we know in our hearts that it’s not.

We have replaced logic with emotion. We don’t present a series of facts to support our position, our behavior, our plan — we find an emotional sore point to make our case — regardless of how inane and stupid it might be, and we push it — because we have to WIN. No matter if winning is truly losing, because what we’ve won is wrong, incorrect, misleading, deadly, damaging and even UNTRUE — we won!

Where does winning over working out come from? Why is it so much more important than fixing what is broken? In my opinion, and I’m not alone, winning comes from our reliance in…

Bob Gerometta

Gear head, archivist, historian, mystery writer — I’ve been called a “renaissance man”, but I’m very, very sure . . not