Monday, March 29, 1999

Lions and Scarecrows and Fools, Oh My!

by Lydia Vorsteveld

I think the Wizard of Oz is a Foolish story and Toto, a Foolish dog. The dog, like a jester, does the unthinkable when he pulls down a curtain and reveals the Wizard of Oz as nothing more than a small man with a big voice using pulleys and levers for special effects. Foolishness, like Toto, lifts the brocade curtain enveloping Wall Street to reveal Wise men and women, like the Wizard, capitalizing on the ignorance of the populace.

After seeing the real Wizard, Dorothy and her friends persist in their belief that only he can grant them the things they have traveled so far and so perilously to receive. The Wizard suddenly becomes a Foolish educator. He points out to the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy that they already have what they wish to possess. Like the Wizard, Fools recognize that education (number one in "to educate, amuse, and enrich") is necessary to help people acquire the information and the confidence to manage their finances.

True Fools, Dorothy and her friends get to the Emerald City with each other's help, learning during their journey. They sing some great songs and have a few good laughs, too. Today in a sort of digital incarnation of Oz -- the Internet -- we are a motley group of Fools from lions to scarecrows, learning from each other, making and taking responsibility for our decisions, and having fun as we skip down the yellow brick road of investing together!

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