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CURRENT STORIES


'Chicken Little' in a 21st century world

by Bob Stealey

EDITOR

While trying to think of some memories for today's column, an idea struck me.

At a young age, I can remember being told the story of Chicken Little, who felt something hit him on the head and ran about to all his friends in quite a frenzy, informing them in a loud voice, "The sky is falling down, the sky is falling down!"

Being a wee bit on the rusty side when it comes to details of nursery rhymes and kids' stories, I'm not certain, but I do believe it was an acorn that fell and struck him on the noggin.

Well, not to spoil the story already for anyone, but rather to attempt to put it in a nutshell, Chicken Little learned that it is silly to go 'round all anxious and panicky and looking for the worst.

Do any of us know any modern-day "Chicken Littles"? Oh, I'm sure we can think of a few -- if we really put our minds to it.

Perhaps the story could also be used by substituting another farm animal, the sheep, for the chicken. Sheep are gregarious. That means they like to "hang out" together. None would ever think of straying away from the fold. Perish the thought! And they tend to be somewhat fearful, don't they?

Just imagine if an acorn or any other object would land on the head of a sheep? It, too, would likely panic for a few minutes, walking into a huddled group of other sheep, blending in with the crowd and, for all practical purposes and intents, disappearing. It would thus be shedding -- besides wool, that is -- any identity it may have had immediately after feeling the bump on its head.

It's highly unlikely that the chicken, not to mention the sheep, would leave the group in search of the origin of the fallen "missile." But I guess most animals are like that -- not always certain from whence trouble arrived. Besides, they're just animals. They have a viable excuse.

As humans, though, we have considerably more dangerous acorns to dodge. And to differentiate, some are tangible, solid items -- things we can see and feel -- and others are more abstract and without any real form, although certainly no less of a threat.

With the second anniversary of 9/11 just four days away, I can't think of anyone who isn't feeling even the least bit squeamish about a repeat performance by another group of crazed suicide pilots. And that's not even to mention the memories that virtually every one of us has of that fateful day and what followed.

Nevertheless, in our country it must be "business as usual." That is, we've got to go about our business as we normally would despite the concerns we're harboring in our minds and hearts.

Hopefully, Sept. 11 will come and go as any other day would. But if there's again a problem of such titanic proportions, it must be met by Americans with the same force of resistance as -- even stronger than -- the initial blow.

Our military should be ready if needed, and the courage of civilians must be just as powerful. In either case, nothing other than a strong, abiding faith in our Creator will meet and surely exceed its "match."

We'll find that this match is, ironically, nothing more than cowardly animals who love to spread terror throughout the world.

We will have the last "hurrah," won't we?

Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438 or by e-mail at rstealey@exponent-telegram.com