My late sister used to have a tiny farm in Missouri. One day she woke up, looked out the back window, and saw a smoking black circle surrounded by snow where her wooden shed used to be. When the insurance company came to investigate the claim, they concluded that it was caused by “chicken panic” and paid up.
Apparently what had happened was a raccoon had gotten into the shed where the chickens roosted. They naturally freaked out, and in their terror they knocked over the heater that had been placed there to keep them warm throughout the winter. The fire engulfed the shed, chickens, raccoon and all.
Ever since then, the term “chicken panic” has become part of my lexicon. I define it as a harsh and exaggerated reaction to change. People don’t want to adjust their lifestyles to accommodate the needs of the planet? Chicken panic. Howls of outrage due to new rules or legislation? Chicken panic. Inability to accept new scientific discoveries? Chicken panic.
It astounds me how much time the human race wastes in running around, figuratively setting fire to our sheds. One thing everyone can count on is that change will happen. You’d think, then, that we’d be more capable of adjusting to it.