We Were Happy When…

Craig Wilson reflects on happiness and the connection it has with having nothing, from USA Today, a few days ago:

We all know the story. Everyone tells it. Over and over again. How happy we all were when we had nothing.

Remember that first job that paid $100 a week? Before taxes. Remember driving that broken-down VW Bug, the one with the heater that never worked in January? Remember that first apartment, the third-floor walk-up with the bathtub in the living room, the tub you used as a giant ice bucket at parties? The daily diet of Kraft macaroni and cheese?

And not a cent in the bank. What we had was our paycheck that we cashed on Friday afternoons and spent on Saturday night.

We’ve never been happier since. And now it appears those happy days are here again. Sing along if you like.

After years of being foolishly amused by $100 dinners, trips to Bora Bora, investment portfolios and cars that cost more than our parents’ first home, we now find ourselves back with nothing. Or close to nothing. At least with lots less. And that will bring us happiness. That’s the theory, at least. We can only hope this theory holds up.

As the stock market was taking us on a roller-coaster ride this month, I made the mistake of getting off and opening my 401(k) statement. I had made a vow that I wasn’t going to look at any of my financial statements until 2012. I’m not sure why I chose 2012. Maybe I thought it sounded stable. 2012. I also thought in four years things might have finally settled down. I know. Optimistic.

But the envelope sat on the kitchen counter just begging me to open it up. So I did. So many minus signs flew out I thought for sure the computer had made a terrible mistake. But I had made the terrible mistake. I silently put it back in the envelope.

I can’t really tell you how bad the bad news was. I just glanced, the way you glance at an accident as you drive by, hoping not to see anything too gruesome. What I saw was a head-on collision. Me and my future.

How happy I am that I took a vow not to buy anything this year. It appears to be a vow I will keep for a while longer. I may never buy anything again.

There was an article in the paper the other day that said there is a silver lining buried here somewhere. Maybe, but sometimes silver linings take an awfully long time to show up.

Until then I’m going to take the advice of those earnest talking heads on TV, the ones who tell me not to panic, not to do anything drastic, not to open up my 401(k) statement.

But if this financial turbulence keeps up, I’m going to be so happy I might just die laughing.

Maybe that’s what they mean by a silver lining.

The Election Polls

The most accurate poll prior to the 2004 election continues to report a vastly different picture for the 2008 election, with a wealth of data–including the Catholic vote and McCain.  From IBDeditorials:

McCain has cut into Obama’s lead for a second day and is now just 1.1 points behind. The spread was 3.7 Wednesday and 6.0 Tuesday. The Republican is making headway with middle- and working- class voters, and has surged 10 points in two days among those earning between $30,000 and $75,000. He has also gone from an 11-point deficit to a 9-point lead among Catholics.

Michael’s Losers

With a hat tip to Leonard Postero, who’s radio show “Leonard’s Losers” often gave me great joy, while riding on the back roads of  North Florida, as a young man–here are my “gut” feeling losers for this weekend (I hope I’m wrong on a few of them:

The Lexington Felines vs. the Florida Swanp Lizards…loser…the Blue Kittens

The Orange Rifleman vs. the Tuscaloosa Pachyderms…loser…in a shocker–the Alabama Laundry Detergent with the roll of toilet paper hanging off of it.

The Georgia Red Clay Dogs vs. the  Bayou Pussycats…loser…the the Athens Puppies

The Columbus Nuts vs. the Penn State Mountain Cats…loser…the Buc Nuts

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