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I asked the elephant to leave

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This is the fifth in a series of blogs about the elephant, which represents the economy, and the bird, which represents the future.

The elephant is still here. He’s too big for me to get rid of him. And he's very difficult to deal with as he's big and smelly. Nevertheless, I quite like the fact that I can see him, when no one else can, and he’s always challenging me with questions.

Today, as I went to get a cup of tea, he just asked: “any idea where the bird has gone?”

The bird is the future.

Luckily, the bird had come back to the garden that day and was now in our shed. I pointed to the shed, and said: “she’s in there”.

ELEPHANT: “WHAT??? Why didn’t you tell me????”

ME: “Well, you set it free last time. I was trying to keep it a secret.”

ELEPHANT: “But it can tell me where the future lies?”

ME: “Yes, but only if you are kind to it.”

ELEPHANT: “I am kind. I am the economy.”

ME: “No, you’re not kind. You’re some kind of roller-coaster. One minute you’re nice, the next you’re nasty. It’s like you’re bipolar or schizophrenic.”


ME: “Don’t you get it. I don’t like you.”

ELEPHANT: “????”

ME: “You’re too unpredictable. I’m struggling with our relationship.”

ELEPHANT: “???????”

ME: “I don’t want to sleep with you anymore. In fact, I don’t really want you in the room.”

ELEPHANT: “But, I am the elephant in the room.”

ME: “So what?”

ELEPHANT: “I’m always here.”

ME: “No, please go away.”

ELEPHANT: “No, I’m always here, whether you like it or not.”

ME: “I want you to leave.”

ELEPHANT: “I can’t.”

ME: “Why not?”

ELEPHANT: “Because if I leave, the economy leaves.”

ME: “Am I bothered?”

ELEPHANT: “You should be, because if I leave, the economy leaves, your country crumbles, you lose all of your money and your world ends.”

ME: “NO?”


There was a while where I left the room. I couldn’t face it. Then, coming back that evening, as I have to sleep, I asked the elephant if he could sleep somewhere else.

ELEPHANT: “Why should I?”

ME: “Because we have several rooms. Go and be an elephant in another room.”

ELEPHANT: “Not until you bring the bird back.”

ME: “So, you’ll go to another room if I bring the bird back?”

ELEPHANT: “I think so.”

I went out to the shed and got the bird. The bird wasn’t happy. It doesn’t like being in a cage. But the bird is the future and the elephant wanted to talk to the bird. I brought the bird back to the house and put it on the table.

ELEPHANT: “Bird. Tell me the future.”

The bird sat on his perch. She didn’t move. She didn’t care.

ELEPHANT: “Bird. Tell me the future.”

The bird still didn’t move and didn’t care.


The bird still didn’t care.


The bird tapped.

Dah dit-dit-dit-dit dit dit-dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dah dah dit-dit-dah dit-dah-dit dit dit-dit dit-dit-dit dah-dit-dit dit-dit dah-dah-dit dit-dit dah dit-dah dit-dah-dit-dit

The elephant was annoyed.

ELEPHANT: “What did the bird say?”

ME: “Same as last time. The future is digital.”

ELEPHANT: “But what does that mean?”

ME: “I guess it means that we must get rid of everything that’s gone before.”


ME: “Let me check. Bird, what does digital mean?”

Dah-dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dit-dit dit-dah dah-dit dah-dah-dit dit dit dit-dit-dit-dah dit dit-dah-dit dah-dit-dah-dah dit-dit-dit-dit dit-dit dah-dit dah-dah-dit

ME: “She says we should change everything.”

ELEPHANT: “Like what?”

ME: “She doesn’t say.”

ELEPHANT: “But I don’t want to change anything.”

ME: “Sorry.”

ELEPHANT: “Is that it?”

ME: “Yep. She says the future is digital and to change everything.”


ME: “Yep.”

I left it a few minutes.

ME: “Will you leave now?”

ELEPHANT: “I can’t.”

ME: “Why not?”

ELEPHANT: “You need to tell me what to do.”

ME: “Why me?”

ELEPHANT: “Because you know about digital.”

ME: “But the bird is the future and the bird said change everything.”

ELEPHANT: “Tell me what to change.”

ME: “Really?”

ELEPHANT: “Tell me how to change.”

ME: “You have no idea, do you?”

ELEPHANT: “Nope. I’m the economy. I’m not an economist.”

ME: “Damn.”

ELEPHANT: “Yes, damn.”

ME: “Damn.”

A few more minutes passed.

ELEPHANT: “So, what are you going to do?”

ME: “Well, I guess I have to work out how to get you and the bird talking the same language.”

ELEPHANT: “I don’t understand the bird.”

ME: “But you have the morse code chart. You gave it to me last time we met.”

ELEPHANT: “I gave it to you because I don’t understand it.”

ME: “So, you can’t talk to the bird?”

ELEPHANT: “No. I need you to do it.”

ME: “Damn.”

ELEPHANT: “Yes, damn.”

The result was that I sat with the bird for the day. We talked a lot in morse code. I got the message. Could I persuade the elephant to listen to the message?

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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