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This Wonderful Life

March 19, 2009

This Wonderful Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Great Depression. I know I am not alone.

Sure, news media have been making comparisons since last year, but you can’t listen to them. But when the front-line, realtime, down-home media (that would be you and me) start examining the ways that our current downturn/ recession/collapse/meltdown is similar to what happened in the 1930s in the U.S and Europe, it’s time to listen. When layoffs are no longer something that happened to a friend of a friend or your cousin’s ex-husband, but rather a reality for your friends and neighbors, it’s time to listen. When great, big things are being tried and the economy still seems to be sinking, it’s time to listen.

The problem is, we don’t have anything but numbers to help us compare what has happened/is happening and to project how it will ultimately affect all of us. Unfortunately, numbers and economic theory are best at telling you about numbers and economic theory. They have less to say about individual human beings.

And to even try to extrapolate Depression-era history and make a forecast for the Millennial Meltdown is to invite gross miscalculations. Yes, we care about the economics of it. We want to keep our jobs or find good ones. We want to keep our 3,000-square-foot homes. We want to send our children to high quality schools that are well staffed and fully equipped. We want to ``cut back’’ by eating out fewer times per week, doing less reckless and impulsive clothes shopping, buying a more fuel-efficient car.

In short, the average American is approaching this broad economic crisis like a bunch of Herbert Hoovers. We can’t possibly give up the gym memberships, yoga classes or personal trainers because, without them, we worry about being too fat. Friends, that’s not deprivation. One pair of shoes My grandmother, Stormy, was born in 1912, in Pensacola, Florida. She passed away late last year, living proof that all the things that won’t kill you actually do make you stronger. And maybe meaner.

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This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009