Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Greatest Of All Depressions

From the WSJ:
"A nose job in a hospital with a private nurse in attendance had been something of a rite of passage for Joan Asher's children. But when her fourth and last child was ready for her own rhinoplasty recently, Ms. Asher asked her to postpone it.

The financial markets were simply more out of whack than her 16-year-old's proboscis."

The turmoil downtown has even worked it's way into the most mundane daily routines of the city's elite. Doris Lockborn, the wife of a prominent investment banker, has burned the sheets she slept on every morning for the last 35 years. "I did it once on our honeymoon, and it just felt right. I haven't missed a day yet. Even when we go on holiday, I make sure they set us up with a fire proof rubish bin." And being accommodated to the lifestyle that she is, Mrs. Lockborn has been setting aflame only the best silk sheets that money could buy. "They're made by a flock of Turkish silk worms - they only allow the worms to make enough silk for one set of sheets and then they crush them with a rock, so it's truly one of a kind. It's fabulous." But after a review of their finances in the wake of the new financial future, Mr. Lockborn put a kibosh on his wife's ritual. "He made me go from the 1000 thread count to the 800, can you believe it? It doesn't have nearly the same crackle when you light it up. It's embarrassing. I see the way the help has been looking at me. With those... eyes."


The economy is even starting to decide how the well-to-doers and their families spend that one special part of the year - time travel vacations. "We were planning on taking the kids back to Florence during the Renaissance," said Rachel Allen, a stay-at-home mom on the Upper-East Side. "Maybe show them a little culture, get them acquainted with the classics, as they were happening." But between the tumultuous economy and the ongoing strife in the middle east, the price for the plutonium that would be necessary for the trip is beyond the Allen's budget. "He starts blabbering at me about 'jiggawats' and all this nonsense and finally gets around to telling me the farthest we could get back would be 1955. And it's like, if I wanted them to see that, I could just take them to see 'Grease' on Broadway. But I don't, because I don't hate my children."


The financial crisis is rising to the point where it's even starting to effect the literal backbone of the local upper crust: the coal mine. It's a widely known fact that one of Wall Street's most ambitious project over the last two booming decades has been it's quest to find the remaining two Adi Shankara stones that it needed to officially rule the world. Even as the project has produced nothing but the bodies of thousands of kidnapped children over the years, the traders still weren't sweating it. As Michael Shenkman, a commodities trader at Morgan Stanely put it, "It was still like, 'Hey, free coal.'" 

But now some are wondering if the quest for undisputed world dominance through the use of mystical stones is worth it in the floundering financial market. "It used to be when your indentured children slaves were starting to die off, you could just send an expedition out to some other po dunk village, round up some more, and we'd be back to full force by Monday," said Jack Newman, an investor with Goldman Sachs. "But now, with funding the whole thing on the weakened dollar, and the price of gas. Do you have any idea how much it costs to fill a jet with enough fuel to get it into a remote Indian village? Yeesh, it was like, who's pillaging who here?"

The project hasn't completely come to a stop yet though, as the investors have turned to a new form of labor: molemen.  Though it's clear no one involved is satisfied with the solution. "The kids at least, if they weren't finding something, there was a certain joy in watching them work, knowing how much they were suffering, you know?" said Newman, watching the new slaves from the mine's viewing gallery. "These guys, they seem to like it. They smile all the time. Or at least I think they do. It's hard to tell. It's creepy, I know that."

No comments: