Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It could be worse

It could be worse

It’s a lovely spring day and I am walking along the river, which is higher than normal thanks to the runoff from heavy rains resulting from several Northeasters we experienced. A faint voice calls out to me as through the trees I see a rowboat struggling to keeps its head against the roaring river. It’s the Town Crier, and as I near him I can just make out what he is saying.

“I didn’t expect the river to be this high and fast,” he says between gulps for air, as he was rowing to beat the band to keep positioned in the center of the river so that his voice could be heard in the village.

“Where’s your usual rower?” I ask.

“Had to let him go, what with the length and depth of the recession,” he answers. “Been running lean since then and I tell you it’s a chore to row, hold the script, and read the news, all at the same time.”

“Bedsides,” he yells as he digs his oars in to counter a particularly choppy rush of water. “I hadn’t figured on the river rising so suddenly. It’s not what the forecasters told us at the annual Criers meeting in March. We expected a slow, gradual increase in volume that would not cause worries about possible flooding.”

“But surely you saw the signs earlier,” I counter. “Rain set records for weeks and even after a mild winter, it surpassed the usual spring increases. I’ve been telling the guys at the tavern they might want to plan on an unexpected rise in the water.”

“Yeah, I heard about your comments, but like most, didn’t give them much credence, as the recent history of droughts had me question your sanity. Besides, I figured I could handle it without hiring back.”

“Well it’s easy to see I was right," I crow. “And before you comment, it is a surge, bound to taper off to a steady flow. But after the past experiences we’ll be happy with this bounty and count our blessing that the ground will be ripe for a good harvest this year.”

I don’t know,” he says. “I’m not ready to start passing the news that this is going to be a much better year than predicted. There is the possibility that some of the build up in the reservoir has to be drained off before we can expect a smooth predictable flow.”

“Granted,” I agree. “But that will happen and the effect will be just to stabilize the flow as I suggested last January. Besides a group of soothsayers down in Washington have decided that the pace of the economic recovery will be faster than expected and this performance will likely last for 18 more months.”

“Yes, but suppose Mother Nature sneaks up on us with some natural calamity like a volcano. Or suppose some other States have a drought and figure out a way to borrow our water. It could affect the volume and maybe my boat will scrape bottom again. And what if the gifts some Greeks are bearing turn out to be fake and the economy in Europe tanks?”

“Right,” I harrumph. And what are the chances those could happen at the same time?”

Just then another surge caught the prow of his boat and it swung around, taking the Crier downstream at an increasing rate. His last understandable words were: “Maybe with prosperity returning, the town fathers will let me rehire again I won’t have to do the news from this *#%&*# boat."

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