Friday, August 5, 2011

A worrier's perspective: How to cope with an unraveling economy.

It's decreased eleven percent in two weeks.

To what, you may ask, could I be referring?

The ozone layer over Bill O'Reilly's house since he began mouth-breathing on a full-time basis? Nope, that's twenty-six percent.

That problem I had that ended up lasting way more than four hours and forced me to live the past fortnight in sweat pants? Negative. And please, next time you see me, eye contact would be appreciated.

Michele Bachmann's chances of being elected President? No, because eleven percent of zero is still zero.

I'm talking about the American stock market, which has plunged nearly eleven percent in the past fourteen days.

It's been the lead story lately in every form of media, so yes, we could have avoided the news, but it would've been pretty difficult. Fears have surfaced of a "double dip recession," another round of economic upheaval, a further spike in the national unemployment rate.

It's scary, it's frustrating, it's maddening...and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.

I hate to say this, but these billions and trillions of speculative dollars ebb and flow outside our human condition and operate completely independently of most of us; we have no control.

We suffer the consequences of these market fluctuations, yet we're no different than a blue-and-red-chested Buffalo Bills fan who cheers his team from the nosebleed section—we're spectators, and no amount of lucky-pantyhose-wearing is going to change the outcome of the game.

One of my kids is a worrier. I won't say which, but boy, can she ever bake up a good cream of worry casserole. My constant mantra to her is "Look, only spend time mulling over things you can control or change. Everything else you worry about is just a waste of time."

I'm a huge believer in the axiom, at least intellectually, but it's time for me to take my own advice, because I'm fairly convinced that she's inherited my worry gene. For example here are a few things I can't control, yet still fret about:

Aging—It would probably help if I saw fewer movies with Eric Dane, Ryan Gosling and Matthew McConaughey, but come on, the only alternative is an eternal nap in a pine futon with a dirt comforter.

What people think—I say I don't care, but I do, I do, I do. And if you like what I've said here, please copy and paste it into your status.

Throwing up—Seriously, none of us can stop this train once it starts rolling. We might as well just get it over with so we can order Domino's before they close.

Traffic—This is probably the most difficult problem to overcome. The only way I would be able to achieve nirvana on a congested freeway would be to personally witness the driver of the Trans-Am who just cut me off lose total control of his bladder and bowels.

Losing total control of my bladder and bowels—Please see "aging."

I know the economy sucks, the unemployment rate is high and now, the stock market has tanked. So I'm going to do the one thing I can control, the single act I'm capable of to demonstrate my frustration.

I'm going to violently hurl this newspaper into the recycle pile.

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