Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Pinch is On

For a while in this downturn I tried to publish a piece I wrote in 1980-something called "Getting Through the Winter." It was a witty, comic-panicky mock diary of plunging through unemployment. Our TV broke and our neighbor gave us their old one, we asked the kids to stop charging things at the drugstore, and so forth.

But now I can take notes from me and my friends at the dog park. A paralegal woman can't find a job for six months. The writer who owns a big lab named Norman (and wants to write the "Book of Norman") was waited on by the manager at Steak & Shake. She only went because she had a coupon by the way. It's happening all over again.

Let's see, how does it work. There comes a day when you just stop spending money. No new shoes, no clothes, no movies, no restaurants, and finally no cable TV. The man who came to remove the cable boxes was a management type; they must have downsized the young cable installers. I freak out when the toaster breaks, and as for getting a new printer--Goodwill here I come. I can't believe I once had the windows washed and the carpets cleaned and installed security lights in the backyard and had the walls painted. That was then. Now I spread out my gold class rings and charm bracelets and think, hmmmmn.

There's a select audience for words like these because people who don't know hear you as self-pitying. Well, I'm not, just factual. I know people have houses in foreclosure et cetera and that I'm fortunate to still have a gold bracelet. Blah blah blah. It's just that the pinch is on!

Plus, even in good times I'm always planning for the time world currency collapses and the day I trade my wedding ring for six eggs and the rejoicing this will cause back at the house.


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