If you read this site, or any site like it, or any site at all, you may come to the conclusion at this point that a) the world either is coming to an end or already has achieved that status and we are all living in a post-world world; b) there is no hope for anybody anywhere anyhow; c) we might as well just sit in a corner and collect dust for the next couple of years.
This all may be true. But I wonder whether any of these conclusions offers a viable basis for a forward-looking strategy. In fact, no. I don't wonder. I know it doesn't.
People, economies, societies - those that do well are those that have the capability of visualizing greatness. The only greatness we all can see in our minds' eyes right now is the magnificent size of our miscreants and mistakes.
But there are glimmers. I won't speak of the political realm, because while there are huge rays of sunshine finally breaking through there are also a whole ream of stinky dark clouds that seem determined to stick around and obscure the light as long as they possibly can. So let's just say that while there is some potential warmth there, the jury is still out on whether it will ever have a chance truly to warm our bones.
But there is plenty of life around us still. All we have to do is look. No, not to Wall Street. Not to Madison Avenue or Silicon Valley or Hollywood Boulevard. Just take a look around you with eyes that aren't shrouded by depression, fear and incipient hysteria. I know it's hard. But you can do it. Go ahead. Try.
You will see people congregating, perhaps not in the same places they did last year, but getting together, eating, drinking and laughing. I've been in LA for the last few days and, frankly, I was amazed at how many funky dudes and ladies I saw hunkered down over their beverages and quite obviously having a good and noisy time. I would say that the hottest food in the entire metropolitan LA region right now is the hamburger. Had an absolutely terrific one in Culver City two nights ago, and everywhere you look -- from Sunset to Santa Monica Boulevard to the Valley, there are hamburger joints, some old, some new. Also hot dogs. And they're all crowded.
Don't these people know we're in the dumpster? Sure they do. They're just waiting it out with a beer and a burger. Seems like a good idea. There are sure a lot of them. Why not find the nearest bunch and wade in? It's better than watching the leading economic indicators. Maybe there's a time to stop looking at the numbers and just start living, to stay away from the Thompson readout that worms into your brain with constant updates on your stock price and take a walk.
Walking is free. Maybe that's why I couldn't get a parking space at Runyon Canyon yesterday. Human beings in all shapes and sizes, young and old, some with ostentatious sweat bands and spandex, others in shorts and tee shirts that were purchased when people thought debt was as good a way to buy something as cash. People talking. Hitting on each other. Breathing heavy. Stretching. You know... living.
I have an idea. Let's all unplug this weekend. Ignore the morons, whoever you may define as such for you. Skip the power breakfast or expensive muffin if you have to and head for the nearest IHOP. Those little pancake wrapped sausages are out of this world. Which is pretty much where we all want to be right now, I think.