“I wish they’d kill him just for that – Oodaba bin Boobee, or whatever his name is.” – my Christian mother, referring to bad business after the terrorist attacks.
Mom’s skateboard shop had been kicking ass until Sept. 11, but then America’s tallest filing cabinets got downsized and sales took a massive dive. Black Tuesday was so quiet my mom pondered selling flags beside the freeway. My brother – who was on leave from the Navy that week – couldn’t help but snicker. “That’s sick, Mom,” he said.
Now it’s always sad when a bunch of people die on the same day, instead of spread out over time; it’s also sad we get our catharsis by upping the death rate somewhere else. But my Christian mother and the scores of millions who want Mr. bin Boobee’s head on a pike have a valid gripe. Thousands have died before their statistical time and they will be the lucky ones. Flaming economic fallout is going to maim, torture and drive insane millions for many, many fiscal quarters to come.
From Tijuana border kids slinging chiclets, to middle managers liposuctioned from the corporate belly, to college grads 180-ing into grad school, to the skateboard industry – there are no fallout shelters for a recession bomb. Growth industries are now limited to antibiotics, malt liquor, shotgun ammo and the CIA. Paranoia and fear have decapitated our lazy, service-based economy and I’m shimmering with cognitive dissonance on the subject.
Part of me wants to smirk with contempt. America’s conspicuous consumption has always been embarrassing, and seeing bin Boobee put a rock through the skull of our Goliath economy is impressive. He did in one day what a decade of anti-consumerism activists couldn’t dream of doing. People are genuinely scared into buying less useless bullshit. Strike one for man’s struggle to free himself of material goods, but I’m still fucked.
I can’t count on rent help next month, or any future month. The Boss has her own rent issues – not to mention the slow torture of floating a small business while other entrepreneurs drown in debt tides. Soon I too must paddle out, and last year’s forecast of smooth, powerful swells are now very inaccurate. I gulp hard when I scan the want ads and realize I spent three years watching the greatest economic tsunami in a century swell, then peak and then crumble into fire and screaming.
” The poor bastards of what will forever be known as Generation Z are doomed to be the first generation of Americans who will grow up with a lower standard of living than their parents enjoyed,” says Hunter S. Thompson. “The 22 babies born in New York City while the World Trade Center burned will never know what they missed. The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what’s coming now. The party’s over, folks. The time has come for loyal Americans to Sacrifice. … Sacrifice. … Sacrifice.”
Sacrifice, indeed, Dr. Thompson. I’m down to two boxes of worldly possessions and it’s all being given away. The faint of heart will choose grad school this summer and it will probably be for the best. Those of us with intestinal fortitude and a few screws loose have a winter hiring freeze to live through.
My mother, who is a veteran businesswoman, counts on her Christian upbringing in these troubled times. “The Lord always provides,” she says, and she means it. I possess too much faith for religious conviction and instead survive on my own blend of ignorance and confidence. A dangerous combo – it lets me enjoy rushing into disasters and chaos from which normal people flee This berserker tendency, along with a fistful of talent, will always be a marketable journalistic trait.
Daily Friday editor and Nexus columnist David Downs wants a patron, not gainful employment. Affluent people please apply under Storke Tower.