By Harley Quinn

Who would have thought that tiny little Andes would emerge as a Mecca for innovative economic ideas? Yes, this bucolic Catskill hamlet has become a magnet for enlightened thinkers seeking a path out of the deep recession the world is currently experiencing.

It all began when the New York Times sent reporters to Andes for an article on travel and tourism.  The events that followed defy belief! One of the reporters was a particularly comely lass who was walking down Main Street, looking for likely candidates to interview. Her progress was being carefully scrutinized by Orvill Foxfinder from the porch of his cabin located high above Main Street. Orville had the image of the cute reporter centered in the eyepiece of his telescope. He then stood up, cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered with all his might: “Hey! Would you like to come up here and interview me?”

Now none of this would be very unusual except for the fact that Orville hadn’t spoken a word to any living sour for over twenty years!

The reporter, having no other prospects, shrugged and said: “What the Heck,” and began the steep climb up the hill to Orville’s house. She arrived huffing and puffing. Her pretty face was flushed and she was  perspiring freely.

They introduced themselves to each other and the reporter began her interview by asking what Orville did for a living. “I write about major cultural and economic trends,” answered Orville.

“And where are your writings published?” asked the skeptical reporter.

“I haven’t published them anywhere. I just write them up and save them. Here they are>” He pointed to a stack of papers on his mantle.

The reporter had a good nose for newsworthy stuff so she asked if she could see what Orville wrote. He reluctantly agreed after she batted her pretty eyelids at him and gave him a dazzling dimpled smile. She quickly scanned some of the writings and in no time, she knew she struck gold. By using all the assets she had, she got Orville to allow her to take his writings back to the city for publication in the Times. With an instinct for marketing, she slowly dribbled the writings into a series of columns called the Orville Papers.  Every week, she would release mor of Orville’s material. Readers began to respond enthusiastically to the wisdom Orville’s writings contained. The column that caused the most excitement was Orville’s comments on inflation and how to measure it.

Orville took information from far and wide and used it to create a snapshot of the current state of the dollar and its purchasing power. He noticed that the Six Million Dollar Man told the press he wasn’t half the man he used to be. He also noticed that the Five and Ten was now the Dollar Store and that they were doing a booming business in Million Dollar Babies. Then he put that together with his last visit to the doctor. The doctor asked him how he felt and Orville answered that he felt like a million bucks. The doctor told him to get his affairs in order.

Well, once the public got wind of Orville’s powers of observation, they flocked to Andes to seek his advice on investments. Orville retreated into his cabin and would come out once a week with a short, concise pronouncement about the economy. Every week, a crowd would gather at the base of Orville’s property. TV crews would set up the night before in anticipation of Orville who became known as the Oracle of Andes.

Some of Orville’s predictions became self-fulfilling prophecies.  The press asked Orville for the most expeditious way to raise capital. Orville responded: “Go to a meeting where a famous person is speaking, and yell out at the top of your lungs “You Lie!” It should be good for several hundred thousand.”

After that sage advice, one entrepreneurial started selling T-shirts with “You Lie” emblazoned on the fronts. He set up shop in front of the Hunting Tavern and they sold like hot cakes.

I can’t wait until next week. Orville promised to tell the world how to solve the health care problem, the illegal immigration problem, the housing foreclosure problem and the unemployment problem, all at once by using each of these problems to solve all the others.

Yes sir, Orville Foxfinder has done more to put Andes on the map than Osmond Steele.~