From "The Sky Is Falling!!!!" to "Wolf!!!!"

Dec 26, 2014

Unless it is high school baseball season, I read two pages of the DAR – page 1A and 4A. I read page 1A to see what stories Dpnna Farley writes about the city and page 4A to read people’s reactions.

Page 1A – The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf dates back to hundreds of years before Jesus and is part of Aesop’s Fables. As the story goes, the boy tending the sheep continued to lie about a vicious wolf. Each day’s scream of “Wolf!” brought less and less villagers out until none at all would come running when a wolf actually did slip into the fold.

One of the most profound statements I hear these days is “I no longer get the DAR!” First of all, you aren’t a bad person if you subscribe to the DAR – I do! What I hear when someone says “I don’t get the DAR” is “I don’t believe the DAR anymore.” That is a much more profound statement. More and more villagers don’t believe the cry of “Wolf!”

Page 4A – Many In Our Community Are Like “Henny Penny”

For whatever reason, the “westernized” version of our story has made two major changes to the Chicken Little story. First, they changed the name from “Chicken Lichen.” The other major change has happened often with our versions, the moral has been changed…the new moral is “be of good courage” but it used to be “don’t believe everything you hear.”

Most within our community read the DAR with the faith of Henny Penny. You remember her, she’s the one Chicken Licken ran into soon after his revelation that the sky was falling. Henny Penny ran with Chicken Licken with the message and told Ducky Lucky and the others. Soon all three are running to tell the Lion (king of the world) of the destruction of the world.

The story has the group running into Foxy Loxey who asks “Do you know where the lion’s den is?” and the fox easily leads them into his own den where they “all go in, but they never, never come out again.”

Today’s Moral

Both statements (“sky is falling” and “wolf”) are untrue in their respective fables, but there is a key difference between the fable-characters’ messages. The first is out of mistakenly interpreting an event (acorn following) whereas the second is from a willful lie of a made-up wolf.

If you read page 4 of the DAR you find a whole lot of Ducky Luckys and Henny Pennys following Chicken Shrieber and echoing his message of the “City is Falling! Kaplan is a wolf!”

Drive down to Earl’s Diner or Myrtle’s or any number of great breakfast joints in the area and listen to the talk. You’ll figure out who the Henny Pennys of our community are; they are the ones echoing “City is falling!” and “Kaplan’s a wolf!”

As the financial health of the city steadily improves, the community will realize that Kaplan is doing a very good job. The silly cries of foul as he uses outsiders for some of the preliminary work will be recognized some day for what it is…wise. As one person wrote in Speakout last week, similar to hiring a new coach (or a new CEO), most of us expected Kaplan to bring in trusted associates.

We’ve already realized the importance of having a good grant writer. And I laugh every time I hear someone talk about the IT money being spent in Michigan For the past 10 years, the city’s IT money went mostly to Cape Girardeau and Atlanta.

Be of good cheer, Poplar Bluff, Kaplan is doing a good job. His decisions thus far have been sound and I expect them to continue being sound going forward.

We are heading in the right direction and we do know how the fables end.