Keep at it until the whistle blows.

Sitting in the airport a few weeks ago waiting for my flight, I watched a little girl about six years old read a joke to her mother from a book she was holding.

“Knock. Knock,” the child said.
“Who’s there?” her mother replied.
“Opera who?”
“Opera-tunity!” the girl said with enthusiasm.
Her mother laughed.

My stream-of-consciousness thinking went something like this:

Opera. Singing. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. A colloquialism meaning don’t assume the outcome of something until it is actually finished. Not counting your chickens before they are hatched.

Opera-tunity. Opportunity. Knocking. Only once or until the door falls down?

I recalled that, while the expression “fat lady sings” is usually considered an opera quote relating to Brunnhilde’s final aria, many researchers believe it’s a remnant from the Victorian days. Conductors aboard steam trains would tell the young man stoking the engine, “Come on, boy. Put your back into it! It’s not over until the fat lady sings!” The “fat lady” being the train’s boiler and the “singing” being when her whistle blew, signaling that she was fully stoked.

Putting it all together and relating it to new home sales, I concluded that, regardless of what we hear in the media, the housing market isn’t done. In fact, it’s building up steam and we need to stay fully stoked … to put our backs into it … until the housing market is singing again.

Obviously, I was a little bored that day in the airport.

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