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The Xenophile Historian

K. U. P.

(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)

A Neighborly Lesson

This one came from the Motley Fool website.
August 29, 2000

Once upon a time, a man found a dead possum in his backyard. Unwilling to dig a hole and bury the dead possum, he went out that night and flung the dead possum over the fence into his neighbor's yard.

Several days later, the neighbor found the now somewhat, shall we say, "ripe," dead possum. He was also of the lazy variety and decided to go late that night and chuck the somewhat ripe dead possum into a second neighbor's yard.

And so it came to pass that after a week or so (for these were very large backyards), the second neighbor detected the now wildly overripe dead possum. The second neighbor was a civic-minded individual and therefore acquired a shovel, dug a hole, and buried the overripe dead possum. While digging the hole, he found a large diamond in the rough. He sold the diamond for a significant sum of money and promptly bought a nice house in a better neighborhood, where the neighbors no longer threw dead possums over the fence into his yard.

The moral to this story is twofold:

If you bury the dead possum you find you will maintain neighbors who will likely lend you a shovel, and possibly help you dig the hole, and you may find a treasure.

If you persist in throwing possums over the fence, all of the nice neighbors will probably move away.

(My own comment: I'm not sure what this has to do with investing, but I see a clear parallel with every Internet community I've been in. Some people work to make the World Wide Web a better place, while others go online to throw dead possums at their neighbors in the global village.)

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