Homeland committee faces stock crisis
“I got to sell my stock,” announced a panic-stricken Holger Danske as he rushed into the Homeland Security Committee assembled in the community hall where it was considering various options for getting rid of the pesky raccoon in the attic.
“I can’t stand this up and down stock market,” Holger wailed, waving some official looking documents. “One day I’m rich; the next day I’m poor. It’s too much. I can’t stand it any longer.”
“Hold on,” Chairperson Ork Dorken ordered as he pounded his coke bottle on the table to restore order.
“Stock? I didn’t know you were playing the stock market,” Chief Alert Officer Garvey Erfald exclaimed in amazement.
“I’m not,” Holger replied. “I inherited this stock from my grandfather.”
“Well, what kind of stock is it – Wells Fargo? Ford? Northern Pacific? ” asked Madeleine Morgan.
“No, he didn’t go for that risky stuff,” Holger replied. “It’s Whippet automobile stock.”
“Whippet! That’s not a car. that’s a dog,” exclaimed Madeleine.
“No, it was an automobile,” Little Jimmy reported. As an online college student, Little Jimmy knew a little about everything. He just happened to be doing a paper on early car manufacturers.
“And a great automobile it was,” Holger added.
“How many shares do you have?” asked Orville Jordan, the retired Soo Line depot agent.
“Two,” replied Holger, “and I want to sell them before the market collapses like it did when Grandpa Bertrand owned them in 1929.”
“Two shares!” exclaimed Einar Stomstead. “Your grandpa must have been the last of the big investors.”
“There is no Whippet Company anymore,” Little Jimmy explained. “They made cars between 1926 and 1929 and then merged with Overland.”
“Well who stands behind my stock?” Holger asked.
“Hard to tell,” Little Jimmy replied. “I don’t think you will find it on the stock exchange.”
“Maybe I could exchange it for some other stock, like Northern Pacific,” suggested Holger. “I hear they’re making billions ripping up western North Dakota with all the mineral rights they got from the government.”
“No, there isn’t any Northern Pacific, either,” Little Jimmy informed the group. “It is now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and belongs mostly to Warren Buffet.”
“Do you suppose Warren Buffet would be interested in diversifying with two shares of Whippet stock?” Holger asked hopefully.
“Not as interested as Antiques Roadshow,” Einar interjected with a big guffaw.
“Don’t laugh. That may be the way out for Holger,” Old Sievert ventured. Antiques Roadshow was his favorite program. He’s been waiting for them to come back to North Dakota because he has a garage full of stuff begging for appraisal.
“Well, I heard that Missus Dvorchak was going to take Josh to the next show for an appraisal,” Einar speculated. “She thinks that a human being with no working parts ought to be worth something.”
“Hey, folks, I came in for help with my stock,” Holger pleaded. ”Let not get sidetracked.”
“Well, your Whippet stock may be worth more as antiques,” Ork surmised.
“On the other hand, it may really be a dog,” Madeleine suggested with a smile.
“As for the raccoon,” Ork started, picking up on the original agenda, “I think we ought to just go up in the attic and shoot him.”
With that note of finality, the 14 committee members headed for the door to pick up the seasonal fight against the ravenous cabbage moth.
Omdahl is a UND professor emeritus in political science and a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota.
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