Saturday, July 9, 2011

EAGLE ASKS HIS VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION (A birds-eye view of the mess we are in)

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EAGLE had been working up to asking his VERY IMPORTANT question for days.

CUCKOO hadn’t rushed him. He knew EAGLE was proud, conscious of his dignity, and extremely protective of his position as symbolic guardian of the Nation; except that he didn’t think his role was just symbolic.

CUCKOO knew that EAGLE was vastly concerned about EAGLE-LAND, so would, in the end, swallow his pride and ask for help. He was, above all, a patriot and took his responsibilities seriously. Eagles were like that, which was probably one of the reasons why so many countries – over forty - had chosen an eagle to be their symbol.

The Chinese, who liked to be different, had chosen a crane. It was rather a pretty bird with exceptionally long legs but lacked the regal bearing of EAGLE. On the other hand it had all kinds of positive connotations including longevity and happiness. CUCKOO thought it was a wise choice.

Eventually, CUCKOO had a brainwave. He would break the ice by talking about CUCKOO-LAND’s problems. And he’d open a bottle of wine (or two) first just to ease the atmosphere.

“I’m worried about CUCKOO-LAND,” he said. “WW II should have taught us that wars aren’t a good thing, and now we’re bombing Libya. You’d think we’d know better. We fought each other there back in the Forties.”

“To be fair,” said EAGLE,  who was perhaps more relaxed than he should have been, “Ghadafi really is cuckoo so it’s hard to know what else to do with the bugger. And it’s not really a big war. It’s not like Afghanistan which is costing us a wing and a claw.”

He then noticed that CUCKOO looked somewhat upset, and his choice of words came back at him.

“Sorry, CUCKOO,” he said breezily. “No harm meant. It’s just that I’ve been very distracted lately. EAGLE-LAND  is in a mess, and I don’t really know why. I’m more of a military bird. Never studied economics. Thought it was for nuts and nerds; and wimpy birds. And positively beneath an eagle’s dignity.”

He then cleared his throat. “But it appears I was wrong.”

CUCKOO cocked his head sympathetically. “Perhaps if we talked this out we might come up with a few answers,” he said.”We’ll both have perspective and that’s always a good thing.”

EAGLE made a face. Now the ice had been broken, he was determined lay it all out – embarrassing thought that may be. “Here’s the thing,” he said. “I don’t know enough to discuss all this properly. I’m an eagle. I know about flying and killing and military tactics – and I know how to command – but I don’t know how an economy works. But I think you do CUCKOO. You’re a funny kind of fellow, but you are exceedingly smart. So will you teach me? Then we can talk more intelligently, and sort these idiots out.”

“They’re only human,” said CUCKOO; “so don’t expect too much of them.”

EAGLE gave one of his dry smiles; and waited, and waited. “Well, you can think it over if you like,” he said eventually. “Perhaps it’s a little much to ask.”

CUCKOO was secretly delighted, but he had found that a certain gravitas worked well with EAGLE. And those with gravitas pondered weighty matters; and pondering took time. Still, it was time to close the bargain.

“EAGLE,” CUCKOO said in a formal but friendly tone, “I’ll be delighted to explain whatever  you want,” he said. “And I look forward to your own insights. Two beaks are always better than one.”

“Had a thought about what we might call whatever it is I’ll be learning,” said EAGLE. “How does ‘Eagleomics’ grab you?”

“By the throat,” said CUCKOO.

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