ill Rogers, the great American humorist, was fond of saying –
“all I know is what I read in the papers.” It was a nice
phrase and I suppose it fit the times. Mr. Rogers’ era was the
twenties and thirties, when times went from good to depressingly bad.
....As much as I like newspapers (they
come from logs you know) I find it difficult to follow Will’s
famous saying today. Here we are in the winter of 81 – 82, surrounded
by phrases – and for a turn of the page, you can have your pick
of sunshine or storm.
....What we need is an expert to tell us
our future. But then, when I look at the qualifications of many of the
present-day soothsayers, I have to feel that many of them are experts
– so why don’t they agree if they are experts?
....Without wanting to attempt to solve
any economic blockages to our main arteries of trade or – for
that matter – to invent a new initialed program that will ‘cure
it all’ – I pass on the following gems of wisdom for the
relief of those good logging people (sawmillers next month) who feel
confused by the cross-fire of good and bad forecasts of our industry’s
....Keep cool – and stop reading
the newspaper! You’ll only harm the juices that flow if you get
dark and mixed up thoughts. Take up knitting instead of reading –
and in place of confusion, you’ll get a pair of socks or a scarf.
....On one given day recently, I put my
knitting down and picked up a newspaper and read of two formidable leaders
of our industry who espoused the following: “The turn around will
come this summer” – and in this corner – “the
turnaround is now happening.” Well, I tell you, I soon went back
to the knitting and damned if I didn’t drop a stitch, I was so
....No doubt, these are nitty-gritty times.
We’ve become so used to such ele-gance in our little corner of
that the slightest murmur of slow-down in our economy sends people running
for the bomb shelter or their soother.
....There are some rather handsome explanations
of our times current – they go like this: “Well, if we have
a good hard winter and a heavy snowfall, that could run the inventories
of logs down, the mills could work and get the camps opening up.”
I call that one ‘the great snow-job syndrome.’
....I like this one! “Loose-leaf paper
will be sold in smaller packages to help the consumer through the hard
times ahead.” That would qualify under ‘the think-small syndrome.’
....Here’s a pipin! “Forest economics
differ on where interest rates will go.” Let’s put that under
‘the great up-for-grabs syndrome.’
....Here’s a new twist! “Wages
will be the big issue in a troubled labor-man-gement environment.”
Now come on guys – you’re putting us on! That one goes on
file as the ‘what-else-is-new syndrome.’
....Did you note the prediction that pulp
markets will improve this coming year – yet the outlook for newsprint
shows little growth. Gosh! I didn’t think they’d take this
column so seriously – about me telling you folks not to read the
newspaper. If I take it all back, will it increase newsprint production?
– I doubt it!
....I suppose it’s not polite to write
in a chiding manner, about so serious a sitution as the confusing situation
we find ourselves in. But – for instance – I look about the
city of Vancouver, this January and cannot recall ever seeing such building
activity and construction going on in this nice west coast city. Why,
they are digging excavations in the heart of the city that you could put
a tall building of 20 years ago into, and plank over.
....It is confusing. There are announce-ments
of logging camps opening on the fourth of January – and in the same
breath, statements about how bad the forest economy is. How many of
you chaps really like logging on the fourth of January?
....You see, as I grew up in the business,
no one ever made announce-ments about things like ‘5,000 loggers
thrown out of work.’ It just didn’t come out in print that
....The way it was – loggers were
told to pick up their time as they came in from work because –
it was too hot; it was snowing; times were tough. No headlines –
just line-ups of loggers going up the gangplank of a Union Steamship
that was heading for the ‘big smoke.’
....Predictions? Who’s to predict?
And if someone did, it was relegated to the back page. Oh yes, there
weren’t many experts then. I guess they must have licensed them
in those days. Now that’s not a bad idea – let’s bring
back the ‘licensed experts’ and limit them to one per regional
district and only between the hours of four and six.
....Good times, bad times, fair times.
What we need in each city across our land is a half-moon barometer like
the Forest Service has for weather hazards. Then, every morning before
we go to work, the expert could set the indicator at ‘good time,
bad times or medium-rare times.’
....Just think how wonderful times would
be in the forest around us if we really knew what the day ahead was
going to be like. Gee, I could quit this silly knitting and start reading
the newspaper again. I wonder what’s happened to Little Orphan
Annie and Sandy. See you in the good times – Arf.
Keep out of the bight,