Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This Just In: The Economy is in Shambles. Let's Sing!

Hey gang. I’m going to shoot to give you a double dose of snarkiness today. Think of it as your coffee in the morning and your stiff drink in the evening. Or, better yet, think of it as if you have nothing better to do. Or, best yet, think of it as a way to totally stick it to your boss because – as we all know – most of you are using company (or state) time to read this ridiculous site. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with your choice of work-place diversions, but I just want us all to be clear that the time spent on creating these words and then reading them is, indeed, a very, very large waste of time. Unless, of course, enough of you keep sneaking me free drinks and twenty-dollar bills with thank you notes scribbled upon them. Then, and only then, will this site be able to contribute to the economy and, thus, be considered valuable.

I know you don’t come here for your financial news but, let me tell you, things don’t look good on the nation’s financial front. And why should you listen to a schmuck who puts paint on walls? Ah, because this painter boy has been working in a senior center and, in case you didn’t know, there’s only one topic of conversation that trumps bodily functions in such a place: finances and the economy. And, let me tell you, these folks are nervous.

The nervousness was at a peek on Monday, as several of the little old ladies had received visits from their children and apparently gotten either pleas for cash or warnings that the cash was running low. I guess they don’t want to share their anxieties with their “little ones,” because they opened up like a sieve when Snarky Boy arrived. Ouch.

These goddamn cable financial shows don’t help one bit, either. Some of the residents sit and watch the stock ticker like it’s the Super Bowl – all…day…long. And their moods (and blood pressure) go up and down based on the direction and color of the stock arrow. Trust me. And if they’re not watching the stock ticker in real time, they’re watching the 24-hour news, a service that seems to be singularly dedicated to making people really, really nervous.

Oh yes, it does feel like the financial party is about to end. And we all know it was never really a party anyway. It was a long and well-orchestrated scam by which the government and individuals borrowed to party like it was 1999. And we borrowed. And we borrowed, until someone stood up (ahem, that would be Greenspan) and said the obvious: Me thinks you’ve borrowed too much. Ka-fucking-boom. And the bottom split like a long-abused diaper. [I don’t get that last line, either.]

And isn’t it ironic that the whole financial house of cards is going to come crashing down just as Bush makes his merry exit to his Texas ranch? Personally, I’m still waiting for more Republicans to begin calling for Bush’s impeachment just because he’s been anything but a Republican when it comes to spending and controlling the deficit. Sure, he might be off coke, but he was snorting military contracts and tax giveaways like there was no tomorrow. And now we’ll all get to pay for it.

But while Bush ponders a comfortable retirement on his gazillion fucking acres in Texas, the little old men and women in the senior center I’m painting are doing little but working themselves into a frantic lather over how long they’ll be able to live there. I’m serious. These people literally know how many years and months they’ve got to live by their present-day standards. So when they watch the stock ticker take a 2% plunge, they’re thinking: Well, I’ll just have to die 2% sooner. And that, Mr. President, sucks. But, please, enjoy your brush removal. You putz.

Given the morning headlines about the crashing mortgage market and a continued free-fall of the Asian markets last night, I think I’m going to have to stop my painting today, turn off the television set at the senior center, and convince them all that one big sing-along would be about the best thing we could do today. That’ll be my deal to them: I won’t work, they won’t worry and we’ll all just sing the damn day away with nothing but nonsense songs about things that don’t matter. But, damn it, we’ll all laugh like hell.

I’ll let you know how it turns out….

Oh yeah, and sorry I wasted your time. Or was it your bosses time? Cool.