Stimulate Me

March 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

cash2I wasn’t going to write about the AIG mess because everybody has, and I imagine readers are sick of it. But I can’t write about my personal life because it makes me weep and want to bite chunks out of my arms and legs, and my mind’s closed like a clam to to all to wonderful curious things of the world. So, politics. I keep thinking of something Philip said: that Obama was correct in focusing on the bank bailout, that Geithner would survive, and all this hysteria was inevitable and had to be both given room and ignored. “What nobody understands about politics,” he said, “is that you have to allow the populist rage. But you don’t have to react to it.”

Obama is reacting to the rage, but as minimally as he can get away with. He’s doing his best to keep the love (Jay Leno loves him). Congress gets to play the Big Stupid, as it does so well. I can’t imagine how the 90% tax plan will survive legal challenge, but maybe nobody will challenge it. Maybe the death threats will convince enough executives to give back their bonuses. Too bad Rahm can’t deliver the threats himself.

Meanwhile, AIG is suing the IRS for taxes it paid and now says it doesn’t owe. It’s one of those fights that normally would be way under the radar, but nothing AIG and its companion losers do can be under the radar now. Maybe they don’t need million dollar executives. Maybe they need a good PR guy. I know one who’d work for 250k. Although, now that I think about it, he probably wouldn’t take a job at AIG.  It’s kind of like working for the Treasury. You have to be really smart and accomplished to be considered, but if you are those things, why walk into the shit?

I’m disappointed in Geithner but I haven’t given up all hope. I still trust that Obama knows a little more than I do. In any case, you can’t expect the capitalist system to transform—which is happening—without a lot of battle and mess. The astrologers say: the last time Pluto was in the place in the sky was during the American Revolution. I don’t think we have the spine for a revolution but maybe this time we can manage change without bloodshed. (In the U.S. I mean. Other countries have it rougher.)

For the record I’m a rationalist who likes to read books about how we deceive ourselves by not understanding the mechanics of chance and coincidence, and so imagine patterns and forces when none exist, and books about the evolutionary basis of religion—at the same time, I love to read Michael Lutin. *

As Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” That works for me. He went on to say, “One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.” So, not quite applicable to my point—I’ll have to find another quote to bolster my split-brain problem—but very much to the current situation.

*Vanity Fair astrologer, website

Obama’s a Leo. Where he is this week, according to Lutin:
“In order to be the creative genius you’d like to be remembered as, you have to smash a few rules once in a while and take a few risks that could put in jeopardy everything you have been trying to build and preserve for ages. On the other hand, when you hear the drums beating and the call of the wild night birds, can you really turn up the TV and pretend you don’t have those urges and yearnings?”

I thought it was me hearing the wild night birds. I guess I was just dreaming.

Btw—all those states rejecting stimulus money: I’ll take it. I’ll spread it around. I know lots of good hardworking, people who need a jolt, a little spring of excitement as the bank account zooms.

Money, Honey

November 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

We’re all scared about the economy, some more than most. I’m not an auto-worker or single mother; I’m in no danger of being homeless. I’m a member of that unlamented breed, the formerly privileged—having always depended on money from inherited stock to keep me barely middle class through a life of writing, depression, chronic illness and a deep-seated terror of men with angry voices. In my youth, I thought every job came with a boss like that. Recently, my boyfriend Philip assured me that, in fact, most do. 

My mother is in the same pickle, though she won’t admit it yet, and it’s a little worse when you’re 83 and not really qualified for phone sex jobs. My brother thinks we should all move in together in her big, unpaid for, not-worth-what-she-owes-on-it house. I imagine a second childhood—hers and ours—where we’d learn the character-building truths somehow neglected in our education. Either that or set upon each other with axes.

My neighbor, also in financial distress, tells me that he’s going to kill himself soon. He tells me this often. People confide their suicidal thoughts to me because I listen without recoil. My father killed himself when I was 10, and in the next decade I knew half a dozen people who killed themselves: two husbands of my mother’s close friends; two teenage brothers I’d met a few times while we visited their home in Houston, and lusted after; one I’ve forgotten; and my schoolfriend’s aunt, who used to drift around the dinner table of her father’s elegant house, neither eating nor talking except once when she halted behind my chair and touched me on the shoulder, pronouncing, ‘watch out for this one.’ I doubt anyone heard her but me. I was spooked by how she knew, without ever having a conversation with me, that I was also profoundly disturbed.

Philip’s wife once said to me, “Nobody kills themselves for love.” I looked at her incredulously. “Well, unless you’re depressed; that’s different. Then you need help.” Indeed. It’s easier to imagine dying over money. There’s no niggling feeling that the bastard isn’t worth it, no pathetic transformation into the martyred lover. There are just numbers and though numbers do lie, frequently, you can’t really take it personally.         

My neighbor and I discuss methods. I remind him that overdosing on pills can leave you brain-damaged. He’s more worried about who’ll take care of his white cockatoo. I consider it a good sign he’s not planning to take her with him, perched on his shoulder in the coffin, ready to sink her wicked beak into any welcomers on the other side.

Philip  called me just now to say Obama had announced his Treasury Secretary, exciting Wall Street. He thought maybe my stock had shot up to the moon, and when I told him I’d sold some this morning, he asked if I could buy it back. Yesterday he was infuriated with me for not selling it sooner. Charles left a message on my machine telling me he was watching the market news, and the woman anchor was wearing an ugly necklace. One of my handmade pieces would look much better. “We’ll have to work on that. I bet she’d pay more than $45.00.” 

My mom says, “You should ghostwrite for Sarah Palin.” 

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