Saturday, July 02, 2005

President's Letter: July 2005 - A Deafening Silence

President's Letter, Larry Geller

The little frog was thinking of moving to Hawaii. Several of her relatives had made the trip, jumping on an airplane from their little Caribbean island and hopping off in Paradise. She knew that they were having a great time, she could hear their raucous voices in the background every evening when she called.

What kept the little frog from giving up everything (which wasn't much, 'cause she was a frog) and flying off to Paradise was that she was familiar with the Boiling Frog Syndrome, which is roughly: “If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out. But if you place a frog into a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, it will boil to death.” Actually, most every frog has heard of this, including of course her relatives living it up in Paradise. It's an old story.

She had read about the spiraling inflation in Hawaii, and how frog ponds were being paved over with asphalt and concrete. She knew that it was already too expensive to fly to another island. She marveled at the high cost of gasoline (expected to rise further), huge tax increases planned for all islands, higher electricity rates, even higher charges for the long-distance calls that connected her to her family. Medical insurance is becoming unaffordable. She knew that the $5 lunch joint would soon be charging $6.50 for a smaller plate, if they hadn’t raised prices already. She knew that if she flew to Hawaii, like the frog dumped into boiling water, she would quickly be on another plane back.

The interesting thing is that her relatives in Hawaii also know the story of the Boiled Frogs, but they had clearly grown accustomed to their lifestyle and were content to simply wait things out. In fact, that's what makes the Boiled Frog Syndrome a "syndrome" after all. Another of her uncles, who had spent time in a monastery in the East, called it "frog-nature." He, too, was now enjoying the serenity of the islands (and allegedly the loud parties at night). For he, of course, was a frog and so possessed that "frog nature."

This tale has no moral. I seem to have my share of "frog-nature," as most likely do you. So I would not dream of suggesting that any of us behave differently. I enjoy thrashing around in the pool as much as the next guy. I know, and you know, that rising costs and rampant development are rapidly eating away at “Paradise” and that nothing seems to deter our leaders from taking us with them as they raise the heat under the pot we all share.

They know that we are frogs and we know we are frogs. So enjoy Paradise while you can.