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September 18th, 2008

Why We Should All Be Scared Right Now

At the very beginning of this past July, I wrote the following:

At the risk of sounding all gloom and doom, everything I've been reading the last few months about the global economy has me wondering if this is how the world felt in June, 1930. The Great Depression didn't happen overnight after the stock market crash in 1929, and a lot of the issues facing the US and global economies are issues that are not going to be easily handled in a short period of time.

Yesterday, Paul Krugman -- a liberal economist whose blog and columns I read regularly -- wrote this:

A thought I had today: as I understand it, when the Titanic hit that iceberg, at first the crew didn’t think it was so bad. The ship’s hull was divided into watertight compartments, and not enough of them had been ripped open to sink the ship. But the flooding from the initial hole tipped the ship, and the compartments were open at the top, so that compartments that hadn’t been ripped open by the impact of the iceberg started filling up, tipping the ship even more, flooding more compartments …

Remind you of anything in the news lately?

I stated at the end of my post in July that I sincerely hoped I was wrong, but it's looking less and less the case. After what happened with Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and AIG over the past four days AND the news coming out concerning Wachovia -- in conjunction with the incredible likelihood that the moment of global peak oil (thus the end of cheap oil) has finally arrived -- I am officially shitting myself.

I have very few doubts now that the next 5-10 years (at a minimum) are going to rival the Great Depression. I still sincerely and fervently hope I'm wrong -- I really don't want to be right -- but I don't know how anyone can look at the financial events of the past couple years and insist the economy will be okay sooner than later.

The "Subaru Period" of My Life

Something literally just occurred to me and I wanted to post it before I forgot. Although the sudden need to replace the Subaru is an inconvenience that certainly came at a bad time, it's demise just provided me with an interesting phrase to summarize what has been the most difficult period of my life.

See, I had to get the Subaru at the very end of 2005 because of an incident eerily similar to the one I just experienced. The car I had at the time was a 2002 Neon, and it too was totaled by the insurance company after it was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. At the time, it was a very traumatic event in my life. It was the first (and still only) car I ever bought new, and losing it in the manner I did caused a great deal of emotional anguish. Although I didn't know it at the time, it was a precursor to what the next 2+ years would have in store; the incident occurred just four months before my marriage troubles began suddenly and in earnest.

So, just as its purchase signaled (in retrospect) the beginning of the most turbulent period of my life, at this moment the Subaru's demise -- which, although an inconvenience, has not caused any significant emotional distress -- looks like a rather apropos endpoint of that period. I'm not trying to suggest that the problems of the past couple years are completely dealt with and gone (after all, although it looks like it will be a very amicable one, the divorce isn't final yet), but I feel like I'm at a point in my personal life where the troubles are now basically behind me. True, there are other dark clouds on the horizon (see my post from earlier today), but those represent completely new and different challenges.

Ergo, it seems almost appropriate to use use the term "Subaru Period" to concisely sum up what I hope will forever remain the most trying period of my life. In some ways, that makes me almost kind of glad to see the Subaru go. :-)

Note: Later tonight I will write a post that includes pictures of the damage and goes into more detail about the accident, its aftermath, and why I decided to go ahead and let the insurance company write it off and scrap it. I also plan to make another post fairly soon about the other big event of the weekend -- though that may not happen tonight.

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