Chicken Little Consolation by Harper Dimmerman
It's official. The sky is falling. Those are the infamous and rather prophetic words of Chicken Little, one of the lovable little creatures from the modern day canon of children's fiction. And as I sit at my desk, trying to concentrate on the practice of law even amidst the torrent of Doomsday economic scenarios (incidentally not doing wonders for my real estate practice), I begin to feel like a character in one of those very animated tales. Real estate values plummet! Foreclosures at historic highs! The world is coming to an end!
Assuming the pundits are incorrect, not an uncommon occurrence (see the presidential race) and we are not vulnerable to The Great Depression II, the big question is: how do I respond to the constant media chatter? Do I act like the chicken? Am I a chicken? Let’s get back to the story so we can bastardize the analogy and find out.
There are a slew of versions floating around out there. Yet according to a reliable source, Wikipedia.com, the basic premise is pretty much the same. Our tender protagonist is struck in the noggin by an acorn, of all things. And as poultry customarily does, she logically assumes the sky is falling. So she begins her quest, apprising the king of her discovery and garnering the support of the other animals in the empire. Before you know it, a procession of believers forms, disseminating the "truth" as they assume it to be.
Eventually, our antagonist, a smooth-talker by the name of Foxy Loxy, vows his support for their cause. Panicked and with their judgment clouded by dread, the believers are taken in by the fox's wily antics. In the most popular version of the tale, Foxy Loxy turns on them, devouring them, yet leaving one alive to warn the chicken. Other endings include total annihilation, the sky actually falling atop the fox, the king saving the day, etc.
No matter which variation of the story you favor, two morals come into immediate relief. The first is that courage, even in the face of what others perceive to be catastrophic, is vital. Even if the global economy is faltering, which it undoubtedly is, we need to be resilient and push on. In other words, don't be a chicken. I think there is actually an opportunity for Americans to regain some of the competitive edge, which has atrophied over time, due to increased competition and our lame attempts at overcompensating with arrogance. Instead of simply laying off or copping out, employers need to innovate and explore creative ways of enhancing employees' skills. The second moral is that we should never believe everything we hear. A wise person once said it would be a mistake to ever attribute more than five percent weight to the words of another. I would argue that the "We Buy Houses" companies are just a few of the foxes out there, looking to dupe naïve and desperate homeowners into simply handing over their equity. Instead of turning a blind eye to such unscrupulous business practices, it is incumbent upon us all to advise our clients to steer clear of those scams.