Led Zeppelin, Brexit, And Manny the Songbird

June 24, 2016

This morning, we all awoke to the surprise news about a British institution. An American jury found that the rock group Led Zeppelin was not guilty of copyright infringement when they published "Stairway to Heaven." In response to that unexpected verdict, the world's stock markets are crashing. I may have some of the facts wrong but I'm pretty sure that this is that Brexit thing everyone is talking about. After all, there's a line in the song that goes:

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving

Gonna be lot's of crying spirits today over the Brits leaving the EU.  Speaking of "Stairway to Heaven," there's that other line about:

In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving

Obviously, no one is going to give a crap about a BrokeAndBroker.com Blog piece today about Wall Street regulation, so let's digress and consider a favorite story of mine about the misgivings of a singing songbird -- it may inspire you to get through the next few weeks of market volatility .  . . or not.

So . . . as fall fell upon the brook, the birds began to take to the skies and fly south for warmer climes. One bird, Manny, wasn't quite sure if there was any point in pulling up stakes. It had been a warmer than usual fall. Maybe there wasn't any point in closing down the nest and joining the annual exodus. Older birds, wiser birds than Manny pulled the young songbird aside and told him to get a move on. They warned him that winter was coming with a vengeance. Manny knew better. He was a young bird and a risk taker. He decided to hang in near the tree by the brook.

At first, Manny's gamble looked like a good bet. With the onset of winter, there was no snow and the temperatures were almost balmy. Then, one morning, Manny awoke to two feet of snow and a frozen pond. Day after day, things got worse and colder. Day after day, little Manny the songbird was starving and freezing to death.

One day, which Manny thought was likely his last, he stumbled into a field where several cows were chomping away at some bales of hay.  As the hunger and cold took its toll, Manny passed out under one such cow. The final indignity, the songbird thought, was that his last conscious thought was a huge cow turd falling on him and covering him up. What a way to die. 

Then the unexpected happened. Manny awoke and realized that he wasn't dead. The songbird soon figured out that he was surround by a warming cow turd, which was filled with pieces of hay that he ate and nourished himself on.  Finding himself warm and full, Manny the songbird started to chirp away in utter happiness and contentment.

It just so happened that nearby was a wolf: A cold wolf and also a very hungry one at that. To the wolf's surprise, he heard a singing songbird. Among the wolf's favorite meals was songbird. The wolf headed over towards the field filled with grazing cows and came upon the turd that covered Manny. And as the songbird continued to sing and give away his position, the wolf eagerly licked away at the cow pod until he had uncovered the singing bird . . . and then he ate him.  Now, boys and girls, what is the moral of this story?  

Not everyone who shits on you is trying to hurt you.

Sometimes, when you're in shit, it's best to keep quiet.

Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.