Is it just me? Or is the world ending?

November 5, 2007, 4:00 PM UTC

I’m an upbeat person, really I am. I mean, sometimes I hide behind a mask of skepticism, even cynicism when I have nothing intelligent to offer. But most of the time you’ll see me strolling in a snappy, optimistic manner down the streets and hallways of life, a smile on my lips, a whistle in my heart, or vice versa.

But lately? I don’t know. This year isn’t wrapping up very well. In fact, I’ll be honest with you. I’m scared. I feel like I’m in one of those video games I used to play when I was on a PC platform, the kind in which you have to run very fast over a lake of fire to get to a safe zone on the other side. In my mind, that area of relative comfort has a banner over it that says 2008.  Everything else before that is just, well… fire and brimstone.

Do I need to elucidate? Okay.

First, there’s the debt crisis. We haven’t seen the end of it. Yesterday, as his company declared an $8-$11 billion writedown, Charles Prince exited his job at the top of Citigroup (C), only the most recent, and certainly not the last of the big ticket dudes whose future resides mostly on a lovely beach somewhere. If mild, entitled boredom was a serious ailment, I’d be worried about them.

But these mega-billion writedowns are just the beginning, I think. What happens when all those people default on their loans and the financial institutions that issued them are now the proud owners of a pile of devalued real estate they can’t unload? No. There will be more writedowns, I think. And the stock market will get the willies. And boom, there go our 401K’s. And our stock portfolios. And the value of our homes. And…

Oil is going to reach $100 a barrel real soon. That means… well, you know what that means. It’s good news for Brazil, apparently, because it’s invested heavily in biofuels and is energy self-sufficient. But we’re not. Of course, they’re busy hacking down the rain forest, which is their prerogative, because they own it, right?

That’s certainly not going to help the situation with global warming, which is coming up the ramp into the global arena like a monster truck. A friend of mine took a cruise to Alaska recently. They have glaciers there, you know. He remarked on their loveliness to the Captain of the vessel, who was staring looking out over the water with firm resolve, as men of his station are required to do.

“Yeah,” said the Captian. “Where we are right now? Used to be glacier.” My friend inquired where, you know, the glacier proper was at this time. “About a mile ahead of us,” said the Captain. “And it’s receding fast.”

And the dollar? Forget about it. We are now a tourist destination for the rest of the world, the way Italy and France used to be when their currencies made any American traveler rich by local comparisons. I’m thinking of sinking all my money into Euros. They’re prettier, too. The thing is? I’m paid in dollars. My savings? They’re in dollars…. which are able to buy fewer and fewer Euros. So there’s that.

These are just the tip of the ever-shrinking iceberg, of course. Can you think of any other looming disasters? Lob them in. I’m eager to hear them.

Or maybe I’m full of it. It’s been known to happen. Maybe the debt crisis is over! Maybe George W. Bush and his sniveling toadies in the pseudo-scientific community are right and there IS no global warming! Maybe the dollar is zooming on back! Maybe 2008 will be the best year ever!

What do you think?  I mean… really.