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The Elephant and the Bird

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The really annoying elephant is still in my room. It’s got to the stage now that I walk past him every day and don’t notice him. That’s what the elephant in the room is all about. It’s big, it’s annoying and you walk past it every day and just don’t notice he's there because you’ve got used to him … until he speaks.

That’s what amazed me. I talk to the elephant in the room and now he talks back! So, I was walking past him the other day, not giving him any notice, and suddenly he piped up and said: “have you seen the bird?”

“The bird?” I said.

“Yes, the bird”, he said.

I wasn’t sure where he was coming from, so I sat down with the elephant and asked: “tell me about the bird”.

The Elephant: The bird is your future.

Me: I’m interested. Where is this bird?

The Elephant: You set it free.

Me: I don’t remember doing that?

The Elephant: You did that when you forced everyone indoors.

Me: I didn’t force anyone to stay indoors. The government did.

The Elephant: Sorry. Yes. The government set the bird free.

Me: What does this mean?

The Elephant: It means you have no idea what the future will be. The bird has flown away. No one knows where it is or if it will come back. Your government did that.

Me: You mean they set it free without a tracker?

The Elephant: Yep.

Me: Jeez those guys are idiots.

The Elephant: This is why I’m upset.

Me: You’re always upset. You’re an elephant.

The Elephant: No. I’m particularly upset that your government let the bird go, so I have no idea where the economy will be now.

Me: And?

The Elephant: And I am the economy, remember?

Me: OK.

The Elephant: You need to find the bird.

Me: Why me?

The Elephant: Because you claim to know the future and, right now, I have no idea what the future is because your government let bird go free.

Me: But I could try and tell you the future. I could be the bird.

The Elephant: Give it a go.

Me: Well, we are in a KUVW-shaped crisis and we will see a KUVW-shaped recovery.

The Elephant: WTF?

Me: I’m talking about the economy. Some countries are in a K-shaped downturn, others a U-shaped or V-shaped or W-shaped.

The Elephant: You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?

Me: Of course, I do. I’m an economist.

The Elephant: Exactly.

Me: You’re not very diplomatic, are you?

The Elephant: I don’t need to be. I’m an elephant.

Me: So, what do you think will come next?

The Elephant: No idea. I’m the economy, not an economist.

Me: Any idea where I can find this bird?

The Elephant: Nope. Once you let it go, you let it go. It gives you the bird.

Me: But you told me it’s our future.

The Elephant: It is, and you now have no idea what the future will be.

Me: I could have a go.

The Elephant: You just tried that. Give it up.

Me: OK. But Mr. Elephant, can I ask you something?

The Elephant: Sure.

Me: If you are the economy, then you must know where the economy is going.

The Elephant: True.

Me: So, tell me, where is the economy going?

The Elephant: I’m right here.

Me: I know that! But where are you going?

The Elephant: I’m going nowhere.

Me: What? You’re just going to sit here?

The Elephant: Yep. That’s because I can’t see the bird.

Me: But … I’m confused.

The Elephant: I follow the bird.

Me: You follow the bird?

The Elephant: The bird is our future.

Me: The bird is our future?

The Elephant: Why are you repeating everything I say?

Me: Maybe I’m a parrot.

The Elephant: Maybe you’re a dead parrot.

Me: Damn. You’ve seen Monty Python?

The Elephant: I’ve seen everything. I am the economy.

Me: So, what you’re saying is that I need to find the bird and then I can find the future?

The Elephant: That’s what I’m saying.

Me: I’ll go look for the bird then.

The Elephant: Oh, and Chris.

Me: Yes.

The Elephant: The bird is not a parrot.

I really don’t like this elephant.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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