"Crash baby crash," wrote a socialist relative on Facebook last Friday, apparently referring to the stock market, which was apparently listening.
I didn't appreciate that, as I was in the middle of what felt like a PTSD flashback from a memorable visit to my dad in Ohio in September, 2008.
Over a couple of weeks, Dad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, the stock market crashed and cost him half of the savings of his careful life and a wind storm came along on a perfectly sunny Sunday in Cincinnati and blew out power in the area for three days.
Last week was the coronavirus panic and the ensuing stock market crash. And Friday I learned the fifty-nine-year-old brother of a dear pal, and a friend of mine, too had a devastating stroke. (He didn't make it.)
Usually work distracts me from trouble, but by Friday, trouble was distracting me from my work, and I found myself writing this instead of answering fucking emails.
I don't like to say that out loud. Aside from being a pretty buoyant soul by nature, I have a number of reasons to be publicly positive.
As the head of a small company, I feel responsible to be cheerful most of the time. A leader, Napoleon said, is a dealer in hope.
As the head of a professional association, I know a lot of people who are out of work, and others stuck in terrible jobs. I think it's more proper to worry about others than about myself.
I'm writing a book urging Americans not to give up on one another, not to speak violently to one another urging them to "make an effort to understand."
I'm a husband to a woman who teaches in one of the most troubled neighborhoods in this troubled city.
I'm a dad to a teenager who's just getting acquainted with how monstrous people can be, and now meaningless life can seem.
Gaping blankly at the computer screen last Friday afternoon, I reminded myself of my mother's shrink in the 1970s. "Dr. R. says he’s been depressed lately, too," she wrote in her journal. "'Last Thursday, I just didn’t give a shit. I closed the office and went home.'"
Sometimes that's the best thing you can do.
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