November 24, 2008

Citi was a group... it's two suits holding hands on a high floor of the Citicorp building, wishing the windows would open so they could jump.

As I may have observed before: the only reason they aren't on a street corner selling apples is because the corner vegetable vendor slot is occupied by someone for whom English is a second language. Yes, we've managed to outsource apple selling.

Every day I turn around and the economy hemorrhages more red ink. Planning for the future has become an utter crapshoot: sure I'll plan if you want to pay me, but honestly? You would be better off going to the movies and getting some entertainment value for your dollar, not to mention a couple of hours of distraction.

More and more, the concept of financial planning is looking a lot like writing fiction. Since no one knows what's going to happen, I can make up any scenario I want. I'm writing if you're buying. Actually, I'm writing no matter what. I can, after all, still construct a sentence.

Thanksgiving is fast upon us, and all the food has been ordered, set for delivery tomorrow. It's the one day of the year my mother cooks, and should I try to deviate from her menu even by one ingredient, I will hear about it. It's easier just to buy the food, point her toward the kitchen, and follow instructions to the letter.

For someone who otherwise can scarcely apply heat to food, my mother is far more opinionated on how things should be prepared than anyone might logically expect. For her, there's the right way, or the doorway, even in matters about which she is completely uninformed.

How do you raise a mother? You just let her do what she wants, and duck if you don't want the fallout to hit you.

I'm too old or too tired to argue -- not just on the family front, but on the we-can-change-the-world front. There was a brief, shining post-electoral moment when I felt an almost orgasmic rush of hope suring through my body.

It has since retreated, to somewhere in the far back of a closet, behind the lightbulbs and the printer paper, between the assorted extra computer cables and a year-long supply of laundry detergent.

I wish I could say I felt more optimistic. At the moment, though, I'm feeling a lot of empathy for those two suits on the high floor of the glassed-in office building. I'm just grateful I'm not up there with them, tempted to imagine myself as Superman. Right now, Underdog is more my style.

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Blogger Teresa said...

Do you think economists understand how the economy works, or is everyone basically faking it? I'm not asking about differing economic theories—I fully understand that we've been sold a bill of goods by small-government, free-market, deregulation maniacs for decades. I'm wondering whether anyone, of any political stripe, really understands why the American dollar is surging against other currencies with the U.S. economy at its weakest state in our lifetime. I know the global economy sucks some pretty sour ass as well, but for goodness sake, why would any foreigner look at the United States right now and say, "I'll take mine in U.S. dollars, merci!"

Let's have a do-over! Your imagination is playing tricks on you. Alan Greenspan wasn't in charge of the Federal Reserve for 20 years; it was Paul Krugman! And the local and global economies are thriving due to mutually beneficial import-export agreements—in truth, formal "agreements" aren't even necessary, because all companies recognize good business when they see it.

Oh, and because people are still employed and therefore happy and hopeful, they're curious and crave knowledge, so the publishing business is fine. You can pick your profession.

So I guess I answered my own question. I do believe some economists understand how the economy works, or can work—we've just never been particularly fond of those economists' ideas here in the U.S.A. If Sweden likes them, they must be commies, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

9:11 PM  
Blogger Merrily Down the Stream said...

I am so with you there on the Mom thing - especially when it comes to Thanksgiving day food - and my siblings all want it exactly like that as well. Good thing I live far, far away.

3:20 PM  
Blogger the only daughter said...

For years during my marriage and for a bit of time after, my mom and I shared the Thanksgiving food prep. Three years ago she contributed something that was not only nasty to the taste but not recognizable as the food stuff she claimed it to be.

Since then she is merely a guest.

12:13 PM  

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