Chicken Little read too many newspapers. He listened to the radio too much, and he watched too much television. One day something snapped. What was the final straw? Hard to say, but whatever it was it shouldn’t have made him hysterical. Most folks take such things in stride because whining is so unattractive, but not Chicken Little. He always had a short fuse. He went running down the street, cheeping at the top of his lungs. “The sky is falling!” he cheeped.
Oh for heavens’ sakes, said Henny Penny, who was loading groceries into her four-wheel-drive supervan. Chicken Little, this is a public place. You’re making a nuisance of yourself.
But the sky is falling! said Chicken Little. I’m sounding the alarm.
You sounded the exact same alarm last year, said Henny Penny, and the sky is still in place. Last time I looked, she added, with heavy irony.
“The sky is falling” is a metaphor, said Chicken Little huffily. It’s true that the sky really is falling, but the falling of the sky represents all sorts of other things that are falling as well. Falling down, and falling apart. You should wake up!
Go home, have a beer, do some meditation, said Henny Penny. Whatever. You’ll feel better tomorrow.
But the next day came and Chicken Little did not feel better. He dropped in on his old friend Turkye Lurkey, who taught at an institution of higher learning.
The sky is falling, said Chicken Little.
That’s one analysis, said Turkey Lurkey. But there’s data to show it isn’t the sky that’s falling. It’s the earth that’s rising. The rising fo the earth is simply displacing the sky. It’s due to natural geocyclical causes and is not the result of human activity, and therefore there is nothing we can do about it.
I don’t see that it makes a blind bit of difference whether the earth is rising or the sky is falling, said Chicken Little, as the end result in either case will be that we are minus a sky.
That is a simple-minded view, said Turkey Lurkey, with offensive condescension.
Chicken Little slammed Turkey Lurkey’s office door, causing Turkey Lurkey’s corkboard decorated with clever newspaper cartoons to fall onto the floor. Then he took himself off to Gooey Loosey, his old roommate, who was now the editor of a major newspaper.
The sky is falling, said Chicken Little. It’s your duty to write an editorial about it!
If you’d said, “The stock market is falling,” that would be news, said Goosey Loosey. Granted the sky is falling, in parts. We’re not unaware of it, but the experts are working on it. They’ll have a fix very soon. Meanwhile, no need to trigger a panic.
Chicken Little went away, disconsolate. He took refuge in a bar. He had a few drinks.
Drowning your sorrows? said the bartender, whose name was Skunky Punky.
The sky is falling, said Chicken Little.
They all say that, said Skunky Punky. The bitch not treating you right? So get a different chick, if you want my opinion. Play some golf. Work off some energy. Do you good.
Golf greens have toxic chemicals on them that will give you cancer of the gonads, said Chicken Little.
What sort of bullshit tree-hugging crapola you giving me? said Skunky Punky, who was tired of his job and wanted to pick a fight.
Excuse me, said Ducky Lucky, who’d been eavesdropping. I couldn’t help overhearing. I’m the president of a lobby group dedicated to solving the very same sky-oriented deficiencies that appear to be disturbing you. It’s not something you can take on alone. Together we can make a difference! Got your chequebook handy?
Chicken Little rejected this kind offer of assistance. He formed a group of his own, called TSIF—an acronym for The Sky Is Falling, as he had to explain carefully to journalists at first. He launched a Web site. Soon he had a dedicated pack of disciples. They were mostly woodchucks and muskrats, but who cared? They picketed political gathering. They blocked highways. They disrupted summit conferences. They carried big signs: Take Back the Sky! No Sky, No Pie, No Sweet Bye and Bye! The Sky’s Our Limit!
This is getting serious, said Hoggy Groggy, who was head of a large development company that sold retirement-home properties in the sky. He himself lived in a bunker designed to protect him from the large chunks of sky that were now falling at random intervals and in unpredictable locations.
He called in Foxy Loxy. Foxy Loxy moved in the shadow world. He did nasty things for a price, and was a devotee of zero accountability. Guys’ gotta put food on the table, was his motto. Not that he bothered much with tables. As far as he was concerned they were a frill.
This Chicken What’s-his-name twerp is making a dent, Hoggy Groggy told Foxy Loxy. He’s giving me a headache. He’s against progress. You should put him out of his misery.
I eat guys like that for breakfast, said Foxy Loxy. It’s the best method. There’s no mess except maybe a couple of feathers, and they never find the body. What’ll you pay me?
The sky’s the limit, said Hoggy Groggy.
And so it was.