Upon a mountain top in a camp named David, President Carter was eased down many days ago in a noisy helicopter along with four trusted aides to help him make decisions.
He called upon governors, civic leaders, energy advisers, more governors, economists, a few mayors of lrge cities, and, finally, religious leaders.
But there are few people I know who can take their problems to a mountain.
"I take my problems to a saloon," a serious man said. "When I have a decision to make I find a saloon where nobody knows me and I try to work it out.
"Usually I will have about five martinis, then the big decision is whether to have the sixth. If I do the problem goes away."
Most people confronted with a decision perfer to be alone. Maybe on a quiet park bench, strolling along a river bank, sitting on a soft chair, or in a crowd.
A friend said, "I make them in a crowd, usually at the $10 window at the track, even with all the noise around me. I can spend all morning checking the touts and I have a friend working the window who shakes his head from side to side so I go with what he wants me to. But then I have to decide about going to the $20 window so he won't see me lay a bet on the horse I originally picked. The horse he picks for me runs out, so I needed a security bet."
He confessed his inability to make up his own mind could have been a throwback to early childhood when his parents made all the decisions for him.
"I never had a shot when I was a kid," he wailed. "I pity Carter up there on the mountain if he had the same kind of parents I had.
"The first time I ever made a decision on my own was the day I got my final report card in the fifth grade.
"It was so lousy I couldn't decide whether to run away or go home, so I ran away.
"When my old man caught up with me I knew the first decision I ever made was wrong."
A woman said she could never make a decision without consulting friends.
"I wanted to change jobs and I talked with eight people I know. Four told me stay where I was and four told me to move out. I changed jobs but always wondered if I should have consulted the ninth person.
"I haven't counted all the people Carter has invited to the mount but I hope it isn't an even number."
Sometimes you're forced to make a crucial spot decision. It could be at fork in the road in some strange backwoods area, or tearing down the Jersey Turnpike.
"I always had to use the turnpike," a family man said. "The kids would be scrambling around in the back seat, always asking, 'When are we going to stop?' And my wife wanting to be on my side but sticking with them.
"The big orange-roofed Howard Johnson's would be a mile ahead and the sign saying the next one 37 miles away. You try to decide whether to stop or take a chance on the kids holding out.
"My decision took about 30 seconds and somewhere in the next half hour between the comfort stations . . . well . . . and that's all I would hear for the rest of the trip."
Military men have to make quick decisions - like Commander Gilmore who lay wounded on the deck of his submarine. The Japanese were firing at him when he ordered a crewman to "Take her down."
They did and now he has a hall named after him at the submarine base in New London, Conn.
Most of our decisions we leave up to others, such as those who are elected to run things for us, and there are a handful up on the mountain with Carter right now.
It might be nice if when they come back down we could revert to the lesser decisions that tug at us each day.
Yes, it would all be easier if on some sweltering night, when you can't sleep, you wouldn't have to decide not to turn the air conditioner up for fear a neighbor would turn you in.
Or sitting in a gas line trying to decide whether to scrap the car or not and maybe moving to Saudi Arabia to work for an oil company.
Maybe there aren't any decisions as important as those Jack Benny had to make from time to time on his radio show. The hold-up man would poke a gun into him and say, "Your money or your life."
There would be a long pause and Benny would say, "Wait a minute, I'm thinking, I'm thinking."
A friend remembering the scene said, "Nothing is really that serious. I find it tough to make decisions. I flip coins. About Camp David and Carter, I'm thinking, I'm thinking."