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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

The Duck Bill

A woman carried her very sick duck into the veterinary office.  As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.  After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”  The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?”  “Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet.  “How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”  The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.

He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever.  As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.  He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.  The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.

A few minutes later he returned with a cat.  The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot.  The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.  The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.  The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill.  “$150!”  She cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”  The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now $150.”

I realize that all solutions to our economic problems in Tama County today will not likely come from duck stories. But lessons can be found in the strangest places, even in a duck tail/tale. The woman in the story was unable to see what was clearly obvious to everyone else, she was too close to the situation. Everyone has heard the idiom “Can’t see the forest for the trees”, which means you can’t see the whole situation clearly because you’re looking too closely at small details, or because you’re too closely involved.

It is hard for most people to see the big picture. It seems strange to even have to ask this most basic of questions – “What’s the problem?” In our fast paced day-to-day life, often we are so busy finding solutions to problems that haven’t even been defined. It was Wayne Cordeiro that said “You cannot rectify problems if you deny that they exist”.

Spend the next week, and take the time to notice all that is good and all that isn’t in and around our county. Be honest and really look. I think you’ll start to see that some of the solutions we think we want are not truly what is needed.


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