Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a group of lads, up for a bit of a challenge, decided to go for a wee jaunt in a boat. With packed lunches and high energy drinks off they went, curious to explore what lay beyond the horizon. They sailed and they sailed. Then they sailed some more. Finally, land was in sight.
Their journey had taken them to the far away shores of a new country, to a smoky bay. Being the clever and wise men they were, they recognized the smoke was produced from local geothermal activity.
Indeed, having consulted Google Earth and their satellite navigation equipment, they knew this was a land of fire and ice with lots of natural hot water. This was perfect they decided, for after such a long time of sailing a warm bath was in order.
A hop, skip and a jump forward and the future generations of those intrepid sailors lived and worked both the land and the sea of their new home. Farming and fishing: two easy and comfortable ways to make a living.
Life was busy, tending to the land, the animals and the fish but there was still plenty of time to relax, to kick back and the young people did enjoy surfing on Facebook.
Families were large, with livestock and people living under the one roof and although there were occasional arguments over the Play Station and whose turn it was to clean out the hot tub, all was well.
Galloping swiftly on through time, life tending the land was widely replaced by working in the bright lights and big city of Europe’s most northern capital. The turf-roofed stone dwellings of old were now stylish new houses, so solid they withstood earthquakes. Homes were as warm as toast and had balconies on which to barbeque in the summer and store beer in the winter.
Soon, a concept called Progress seized the land. People were very excited about this. Things were changing and changing fast.
The banks grew bigger as they needed more space to store the growing amounts of money. Shops started to sell bright, sparkly things that people wanted to buy. New buildings grew on the skyline, cranes littered the horizon, and people bought cars as big as elephants.
Then, a new discovery was made. A discovery that promised the speed of change could be even quicker. The Decision Making people spread the word of this new magic, the magic of Free Money. It didn’t matter if you didn’t have the cash for what you wanted, because you would have the money one day.
The people keeping the money safe in the banks knew this. They had sat down and done lots of sums and everything added up. All would be well. The pot of money would be there at the end of the rainbow to pay for the present in the future.
“Hooray,” shouted the people, “time to party!”
Soon, the formerly primitive land the sailors had first encountered when they sailed into the smoky bay, blossomed into a land of plenty. The splashing of cash, of the magical Free Money transformed the nation. Life was just grand. More was better and bigger was better.
But then one day disaster struck. One of the Decision Making people had been working late one night and decided to check the sums. “Oh dear,” he mumbled between mouthfuls of foie gras and sips of champagne.
The banks had become big. Very big. They were bigger than the elephant-sized cars and the shiny, new, high-rised apartments overlooking the ocean. They were bigger than the colossal glaciers. And worst of all, they were very, very big compared to the rest of the economy in the land of Fire and Ice.
They were much bigger than anyone had ever realized.
What was to be done? The Decision Making person paced back and forth, biting his lip. He thought long and hard. Should he contact the elves in the countryside to see if they could help hide the sheer size of the banks? Could they help? He should call his other Decision Making friends, he decided. They would know what to do.
In the morning, all the Decision Making people met. There was lots of talking. Voices were raised. People were confused. Alas, it was too late. A new discovery had been made. Free money did not exist after all. It was a fairytale. The future was now the present and the time to pay was now.
Far and wide, people could be seen chasing rainbows. “It’s here, it’s here,” they shouted, as they started running towards it. But in their chase for the pot of gold, every time they got near it, the rainbow disappeared. What had happened? They had been told it had existed, they were sure they had seen it before, it had been right there. Why had it suddenly vanished?
People talked and talked about the vanishing rainbows. There were lots of different opinions about what should be done to find them.
Weekly public gatherings downtown discussed the best way to find the missing pots of gold and tried to find out the story behind the magical Free Money. They also began to wonder if there was a new kind of money the people could trust now that they had been let down by the Decision Making people.
Suddenly, life had changed. Progress had happened and brought with it many great things to the land of Fire and Ice but like a rose, it also had thorns in its side.
The people realized they would have to think long and hard how to fix this new problem in the land where rainbows had previously flourished and lit up the sky.
Mica Allan – [email protected]
Mica will contribute to Daily Life every other Tuesday from now on.