I was browsing randomly and ended up on an article about difficult interview questions. One of the questions caught my attention: “Tell us a story which has a title of Green Hat.” Oooo. I like making up stories on the fly. I spent less than a minute thinking and came up with this idea. The luxury of time with writing means it’s a little more fleshed out, but I think I would have been able to get my point across verbally.
A man was out walking one day and came upon two old men seated opposing each other at a table. In front of the the men were some seemingly random items on what looked like a complex map.
One man wore a white hat and the other, a black hat. They stared intently together at the pieces in front of them. When the man with the white hat would make a move toward a piece, the black-hatted man would reach towards a different piece. Then each would pause and withdraw their hands from the map, leaving everything as it remained.
The newcomer approached the old men and asked, “Who are you and what are you doing?” White hat replied, “I am the spirit of positive progress, the one across from me is the spirit of negative consequence.” Black hat smirked in acknowledgement.
“What I am trying to do,” White hat explained, “is move the pieces on this map to the best position possible, but whenever I ready myself to move a piece, my counterpart prepares to move a piece in a negative way.”
The newcomer considered this and asked, “So when is the last time you moved a piece?”
“I have not for a very, very long time. If I do, something bad will happen.”
“But, do you know what will happen?” asked newcomer.
“No. But it will be negative.”
The newcomer reached for a piece and Black hat reached for another piece. To the positive spirit’s shock, newcomer slid his piece all the way across the map. In return, the negative spirit moved his piece, although only a fraction of the distance.
The positive spirit was beside himself. “Look at what you’ve done!”
“Did I not move a piece father forward than your opponent moved his back?” Queried the newcomer?
“Yes, you did,” said the positive spirit thoughtfully.
“Then that is net progress. You have not have that in a long time.”
The newcomer then pulled a hat from his pocket and put it on his head. Both old spirits looked at him, surprised.
The newcomer said simply, “Green means go.” and walked onward.