Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey see, monkey do is a saying that popped up in our American culture in the early 1920s. The saying refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works. And yet another definition implies the act of mimicry, usually with limited knowledge and regard of the consequences.  I speak about this today because I truly believe it is becoming more widespread within our society.

Today was a classic example of this. I discovered I needed cash so I went and found my checkbook this morning, wrote myself out a check, hopped in my car and drove to the drive-thru bank in the Downtown. There are more than two drive-thru lanes at that bank, but when I arrived there were four and five cars deep behind the first two lanes. I’m saying to myself, “Am I really more observant than most or is this the Twilight Zone?” I pulled into a third lane that was empty and sent my check to the teller who processed it right away. I drove away from that bank before anyone else moved. Are people really becoming more and more the followers than thinkers?

I have a dear friend whom I’ve known for years who is of great acumen. Sadly enough he moved to Rochester over a year ago so I don’t have the opportunity to see him often. He and I debated regularly about why people do the things they do without considering cause and effect. I believe the reason we have had such a great relationship over these long years is because we both could encourage each other to consider the other sides of our debates.

Getting back to the subject. I see more and more buyers and sellers making choices in buying and selling homes based on what others in their circles are doing. I hear about horror stories nearly every week of something that happened which I would never have allowed or promoted. The Senior Community are by far vulnerable to this because they are relying on what others encourage them to do.  If someone drives up in a fancy vehicle and shows signs of expensive physical adornments, then the general population would consider that they have their act together. I often become blind to trappings due to the number of years that I have learned the hard way of trying to second guess a person’s abilities and/or intelligence. I don’t second guess anymore—I just work at doing the very best for my clients and customers and leave it at that.

I will finish my article with a very personal story. So very many years ago I did much work for a prominent and feisty attorney here in Mason City. One day long ago, he called me into his office early one morning. I thought to myself, “Now what did I do?” When I walked into his office he barked at me to sit down because he wanted to talk to me. He was a very eloquent and well read man who went through the library like a visit to a supermarket. His fearfully broad intelligence was yet one more reason I had to be careful with him. He said to me, “Mr. Chodur, I can see that you are becoming more and more successful and I’m not saying this to you as advice but rather a demand. As long as you place your client’s wishes before your own, you will continue to be successful—even if it hurts.” After a few more words, I left a bit teary-eyed because this man was one of the early pillars of our community who kept out of the limelight. In my mind’s eye, I can still hear his voice and see him drinking his mid-morning tea.

Joe Chodur

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