Okay, call me an out-of-touch old crad*, but can anyone explain what the heck is going on in the world? I mean, this isn't exactly the summer of love, is it? The markets are tanking, people are rioting, and our politicians have taken off on vacation rather than deal with the problems in Washington.
Because I care so deeply about our planet and the creepy things that creep upon it, I've proposed some solutions to all the ills of the world. I've done my best to cover every base. Here's what we've got to do:
1. Take your business card out of your wallet. If you see under your name the word, "Congressman" or "Senator," go to your computer and start writing your resignation letter. Send it immediately to the President. Remember: Ask not what you won't do for your country. Ask what your country will no longer have to do for you.
2. If you notice your name is Bernanke or Geithner, get together with maybe a dozen really smart people (a few CEOs, an academic or two, some bankers and brokers and farmers and manufacturers) and figure out how to fix this mess. DO NOT INVITE POLITICIANS TO THIS MEETING. If you invite politicians, nothing will be accomplished except a lot of blamestorming and you'll be handed some hefty bills for transportation, food and Five Star lodging for them and members of their staff after they've created a stalemate or provoked chaos before slithering back under their rocks.
3. If you notice that your name is NOT Bernanke or Geithner, sit down and write letters to Bernanke and Geithner. Just chatty little notes to say hi and to ask, "Are you people completely insane?!" I'm no economics major, but I can tell you this: When the dollar is weak, interest rates are historically low, banks are hoarding cash, the stock market's bi-polar, and we're a bazillion trillion dollars in debt, somebody's made an error. It could be a math error. Or it could be that Keynesian economics are theoretically viable but practically unsound and we need to completely overhaul the global economic system. I don't know. I'm a yarn lady, not an accountant.(Don't worry. Misters Bernanke and Geithner won't respond to your letters. But you'll get to meet some of their nice friends when you're invited to the tax office during your audit.)
4. Go next door and ask the teenage kid, "Quick! What's 9 x 7?" If the kid can't answer it correctly on the first try, consider running for the school board. When you're elected to it, make sure you put math and science classes up at the top of the curriculum and Self-Esteem and The History of Angst at the bottom. (American kids score highest in self-esteem but are far below other western students for maths and sciences. This is what happens when you get a trophy just for showing up.)
5. Look down. If your trousers are sitting below your underpants, pull them up. Buy a belt and use it. Then slap yourself on the head and say, "What on earth was I thinking?!"
6. Go to your basement. If there are adult children living there, ask them, "So, what are your plans?" If they have no plans, put them to work doing all your chores -- cooking, cleaning, gardening, anything you can think of. This is the best way to help them think of some plans. You'll be surprised at how much planning your children can do when they're performing manual labor for their parents.
7. Look in a mirror. If you notice that you're wearing a mask to cover your face, please have the intelligence to put down that rock or stick you're carrying and go home. Just go home, sit there, and ask yourself, "Why am I such a moron?"
8. Go out into your street and look at your house. If you notice your house is in Greece, remind yourself that your country is broke and that it can't afford to have you retire 20 years before the people who go out onto their street and notice their house is in Germany.
9. If you're in the food manufacturing business, please ask yourself whether you're producing good, healthful foods that won't eventually cause humans to grow a third arm, an enormous head with antlers, an immune system that attacks and wipes itself out, or causes us to produce children that look like lizard people. Ask yourself if your strawberries taste like strawberries or if they're just strawberry shaped things that don't bruise during shipping and will last several weeks, unrefrigerated, before going soft and yucky. If you're a chicken farmer, ask yourself whether your chickens have nice little chicken lives before becoming somebody's dinner or if they're just chicken-shaped things that produce massive quantities of white meat and will cause men to grow boobs when they eat them.
10. If you're a lawyer, ask yourself if your client really does deserve $7 million in damages because the kid at Burger King accidentally put ketchup on her hamburger and she had an emotional breakdown because ketchup reminds her of the movie, Carrie. Ask yourself whether the money she's ready to give to you for the lawsuit would be better spent on therapy.
11. If you're a CEO earning 300 times what your workers are making, ask yourself how many more millions you'll need before you'll really be happy. Ten more million? Twenty? A hundred billion million kajillion? Write this number down. Then, once you've got that amount, give the rest of your income back to the people who worked so hard to earn it for you. It wouldn't hurt to include a little thank you note, would it?
12. If you're a CEO who just shut down your plant in America and moved all your production facilities to China, please call your real estate agent and put your house up for sale. Then move to China where you can be nearer the people who work for you. Live in a Chinese city. Pay Chinese taxes. Eat Chinese food. Just think, you can have REAL, authentic Szechuan every night!
13. If you're an IT person who can build web sites really quickly that do everything you'd like them to do and they never crash or respond in some weird way that causes you to say, "Gee, I've never seen that before!" give me a call. I will clone you and start an IT company and become one of those CEOs who needs to figure out how many billions of dollars it will take to make me happy.
14. If you suddenly remember that you run an airline that charges people extra for their baggage, their food on board, enough space to keep their legs from growing numb, and a head set so they can listen to your wonderful in-air programming it would be a swell idea if you'd do this: Figure out how many people can sit comfortably on your airplane. Figure out how much it costs to fly that airplane. Then divide the cost of flying that plane by the number of people you can fit in it, assuming maybe three don't show up. Then charge people that amount for their flight. No...don't give points that can never be used. Don't have seven price classifications depending upon when the ticket is purchased. Don't book 435 people when your airplane holds 382. You end up with a bunch of very angry people who yell at your staff who then treat your customers like crap and everyone hates your company and you eventually have to merge with your competitor before filing for Chapter 11.
14. If there's a cameraman following you, but you know you're not a news reporter, figure out what you're doing and whether you ought to be doing it. If the cameraman is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Bridezilla," hang your head in shame and leave. If the cameraman is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Jersey Shore," hang you head in shame and leave. If the cameraman is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Jerry Springer," hang your head in shame and leave. Come to think of it, unless the cameraman is wearing a shirt that says, "National Geographic," hang your head in shame and leave.
15. Ask yourself a few simple questions like, "Am I a good person?" and "Am I living within my means?" and "Am I an insatiably greedy egomaniac who doesn't care about anyone but myself and will destroy everything in my path to get what I want?"
16. Remember not to destroy anyone else's happiness, property, dreams, or life.
17. Be sure to knit. If you don't knit, I don't sell yarn. If I don't sell yarn, I'll have to go back to my previous career in corporate America and that would be a very, very bad thing -- for me and whichever corporation is dumb enough to hire me.
* I'm not sure what a "crad" is but it's a term my brother always used. It was never uttered without the word "old" in front of it.