Can I have some Prozac with that bailout?



I saw the movie Happy-Go-Lucky over the weekend, hoping to catch some of the good cheer of British director Mike Leigh’s heroine. Poppy keeps smiling through a hectic job as a teacher, an encounter with an incoherent homeless guy and life in a shabby flat. She spreads happiness -- or tries to -- even when her bike is stolen and she is stalked by a crazed driving instructor. “If she can hold it together,” I thought.

My plan worked, but only until I returned home and caught a glimpse of my 401K statement. To say it’s trending down would be an understatement.

Let the experts argue how close the world economy is creeping toward a financial depression. I can say for sure that citizens are settling into a clinical depression.

Can I have some Prozac with that bailout?

Most years, people complain about holiday trappings breaking out the day after Halloween. Now I’m actually looking forward to Santa, trees and mistletoe. Christmas can’t come too soon.

Television, the usual escapist fare, is one dire prediction after another, as talking heads debate just how much lower the stock market can go.

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman repeated his message of the day. This expert on foreign policy and the new economy turned to Jaws -- to be precise, the moment when Roy Scheider first spies the shark -- to describe the world’s troubles: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Three Pulitzer Prizes and this is what we get?

Occasionally, the bad financial news is interrupted by another vision of California burning.

The holidays may not bring relief, as scared consumers -- out of jobs and low on funds -- aren’t buying anything. Twenty percent off! Fifty percent off! Let me know when stores are giving stuff away.

There’s always eggnog -- spiked.

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