calling Dad


“So, uh, you remember the Cuban missile crisis, right?”


“Was it scarier than this?”

“Scarier than what?”

“THIS.  Right now, this.  The banks.”

“Oh.  Well, yeah!  We all thought we were going to die.”

“Okay.  I just, well–this is the scariest things have been in my adult lifetime, so I just needed some perspective.”

“Yeah, the Cuban missile crisis was scarier.”

“All right, then.  Thanks.”

9 thoughts on “calling Dad

  1. Awwww. I made my dad explain what money markets are. Dads are great. But, my dad thinks this is scarier than Cuban Missile Crisis.

  2. You know, I really ought probably to be scared, since my 401k has lost like 15% in the past year and my savings are slowly draining away, but I’m just not that worried.

    I think it’s because the worst case scenario is not that bad–Great Depression 2: Electric Boogaloo (which I don’t think we will, and more importantly neither does Metafilter) would suck (a whole whole lot), but, yeah, we’re not going to be shadows on the pavement. Even if I lose my job and car and house, I have enough experience at scraping by that I might have to work extra damn hard for a while.

    I’m not Pollyannaing here. It really would be very unpleasant, but the thing about economic collapse (vs. the total societal collapse all the ammo-stockpilers are worried about and I am not even slightly concerned about because I have a BA in knowing that scenario is BS)–you’ve still actually got a really good chance of living (during the Great Depression, the US infant mortality rate actually went down 25%). I figure I’m resourceful and intelligent enough to make it through. I think you are too.

  3. Also, total economic ruin means you will no longer be able to afford a tank of gas to get killed for, so, hey, one less worry.

  4. All of my money is at (the former) Washington Mutual. I was a little concerned before that there was a possibility the bank would go under and my money would be temporarily unavailable while the FDIC figured things out, but now that they’ve been picked up by JPMorgan Chase I’m not really worried about that. I do need to get an account established at another bank or credit union, though, just so that in the future I’ve got an alternative. I am a lot more worried about finding new sources of work, which I really need to do very soon and which I really hate doing and am really bad at. But that has less to do with the shaky financial situation and more to do with my possibly-erroneous perception that freelance editing work is hard to come by.

  5. I’m not even sure that nervousness about economic collapse and fear at the downfall of civilization are actually the same emotion. We just dont’ have enough words or precise enough words to describe what we are feeling.

    I think anyone who doesn’t work in the financial sector should be unsettled a bit but actually afraid in the way one would be with a pistol to one’s head, certainly not.

    Now, the Wall Street executives that, we can only hope, will soon be facing criminal charges, if there are any that could be filed, I hope they’re good and scared.

  6. I’m surprised you didn’t find 9/11 to be scary in a cuban-missile-crisis kind of way, and scarier than this.

    But then again, I’m Canadian, and I found 9/11 as incredibly frightening as Americans did at the time, but find myself quite smug about this american economic meltdown. There’s nothing like being the neighbour who didn’t spend all their money on houses/insurance/etc that they couldn’t afford, to make you feel okay.

  7. I think this is actually a huge opportunity. Capitalism is essentially a system of communication, and the failure we’re seeing is analagous to communications failure when a system is insufficiently distributed. Because banks are by their nature stodgy old creatures, with no inherent love for change, they have been slow to move toward new models. If the banks fail, the communications between those who have capital to lend and those who need capital will be severed. There will be short and medium-term pain, and plenty of it, but what should emerge from the ashes will be a much more robust system than we have now.

    The danger is that the federal government will 1) bail out these dinosaurs, before they even have a chance to fail, and 2) impose regulations that keep us from developing a more distributed system to replace them. In that case, we’ll be stuck with what we have now, or worse, probably for a generation or two.

  8. i thought 9/11 was the scariest thing that has happened in my 25 years of living… i thought we were all gonna get blown up… city by city…

  9. I have to agree with Melissa, 9/11 was some pretty scary stuff. That day, and several days after, it was near impossible to get gas unless you wanted to sit for hours in a long line at the pumps. With an economic collapse, I can’t even fathom all the different areas of my life or my family’s that would be affected, or by how much.

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