Where slacking is a sport, reading an addiction, and underachievement a birthright

Archive for February, 2009

Possibilities through these tough times, or history repeating itself? You be the judge.

I am so, so tired of hearing people talk about how bad the economy is.  President Obama is under such microscopic scrutiny, it’s as if the desired results are going to magically present themselves the moment he finishes signing them.  Sure, times have been better than they are now, but this running around in a constant state of panic that this recession is going to turn into a depression has got to STOP.  Please.

This ain’t our first rodeo, people.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Wow, this is my 5th recession!  And I’m not even very old!

I can’t say I remember anything of  ‘my’ first one, where people were lining up to fill their gas tanks. We lived on a ranch and had our own gas tank (because of all of the tractors and equipment that require gas in order to work), so I don’t remember waiting all day to fill up one’s tank.   Then again, I was about 3 years old. Nothing is too bad when you’re 3.  However, it was a bad recession, or so I’m told.

The early 80’s recession…that would put me in early Jr. High School. My life pretty well sucked during the entire experience of Jr&Sr high, all of which took place in the 1980’s. I’m sure I was focusing a lot more on the myriad elements that comprised my life sucking than I was on the early 80’s recession. The lovely ‘trickle down’ theory didn’t trickle down as low as Reagan had assured us, if it even trickled at all…

The early 90’s recession: Ooooh, I remember this one! It wasn’t just Ivy League graduates who had nowhere to go, it was EVERYONE graduating from college around that time. You just went through all this schooling, and now there’s nothing for you?  If you could afford it , you’d get mommy and daddy to pay for you to just stay in school and get your master’s degree right then.   A lot of us weren’t so lucky, but even so, many opted for the ‘take out more loans, get my master’s/PhD and hope times are better when I’m done with them’ route.  I remember being utterly petrified the 2nd semester my senior year.  I had no idea what I was going to do.  I ended up packing up and moving to the big city of San Francisco.  The one advantage to this time was that so many schools had been cranking out kids with business degrees that suddenly, companies wanted to hire people who had a more ‘well rounded’ education. Though Psychology was #1 and English #2 in the list of slacker majors, they definitely counted as ‘well rounded, and somehow employment was found.

2001-2003-Oh, the dot com bubble! And right on the heels of the Japanese recession of the late 90’s! I had friends who were working really hard, trying to get in on IPOs, then BAM! It was all over. They had spent the best part of their 20’s working their asses off in hopes of the big payout, and I spent most of mine NOT doing that, and then, years later,  there we were, in the very same place. It was as if the ‘ant and the grasshopper’  fable was turned on its side.

And NOW we’re in the late 2000’s recession, and everyone’s running around like chicken with their heads cut off, screaming like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” It’s not as though this has never happened before.   And everyone’s saying ‘This time it’s going to be different; THIS time we’re going to find a new way, a super great ultra utopian way, THIS time we’re going to become self sufficient, join hands across the land, and by the end of it, we’ll all be working at high paying jobs, and we’ll all be so much wiser for this experience that it’ll NEVER happen again.

I’m not denying that maybe this IS the chance for people to get together, get off their asses, and elicit major change for our country.  We are so used to being the king of the hill in terms of world leadership that we have been on autopilot for so many things, and we’re paying for it now.  I think this time we do face unprecedented challenges, and just maybe, the necessary elements WILL come together, and people will realize the benefits of doing things in a new way, more economical, ecological, self sustainable.  Really, we don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter.   

No matter the situation, it’s STILL a very lucky thing to be an American.   However, we’re a little amiss in thinking that the troubles we face now are new.  Our 225+ year history has been wrought with  some sort of financial problem, panic, recession, depression, crisis, or crash going on since we became a country.  Yes, it is incredibly important to learn from our mistakes, misfortunes, and things of the like.  However, to think that if we change things, radically change things, we will forever be free from such troubles as we’re facing right now; it’s a beautiful idea, truly, but whether or not it’s realistic is questionable.