THE BLOG
04/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Other March Madness


"We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!" That's the phrase news anchor Howard Beale intoned in Paddy Chayevsky's prescient satirical movie, Network, made back in 1973. Watch it now and you'd think it was filmed last week. Everyone is up in arms about everything. Furious, angry, incensed... you name it, we're feeling it.

Outraged. We're going to get that 90 million dollars back or at least 90% of it back, even if we have to go to each one of these executive's houses and demand it in person! Everyone is outraged at AIG. Really? I've been outraged with AIG since 2000. As a former AIG customer, I am not a bit surprised. Back in the flush late 1990s, my husband and I were advised by our then-accountant that we needed an insurance broker to get the best deal and so AIG became our insurance broker. When we tried to drop them, we were told that we would only receive the good rate we had been getting if we continued to go through AIG. This seemed suspicious, so it was no surprise when it was revealed back in 2004 that the company was getting kickbacks. So, while we're getting those bonuses back from them, I'd like to get the commission money back too, because again, no surprise, I was later able to get a lower rate from competing companies on my own.

This idea of retroactively demanding a giveback could catch on and if it does, I've got a list of other things I want to get back -- damn it!

I'd settle for 80% of the time I wasted watching Rock of Love, I confess, I got a little hooked, it was like highway spectator slowing, or what I like to call "celebrity slowing", you can't seem to avert your eyes as the semi-famous person makes a wreck of their lives.

I'd like to have back at least 70% of the cash I spent on things like "sub-sensory micro current wave" facials designed to lift and tone muscles. The New York Times just revealed that this inscrutably phrased procedure, shockingly, might be entirely meaningless. Hey, I knew that treatment didn't really mean anything, but did you have to spoil the illusion? I'm willing to take a 30% loss as, admittedly, I found it relaxing.

I'd like at least 60% of the dough I've squandered on vitamins now that I've learned that "the benefits of vitamins and nutrients is not supported by the available scientific data.'' Again, I'm willing to pony a little for that placebo effect.

I'd also like to get my entire twenties back when I was studying and working in non paying off- Broadway theatrical productions, all of which left me broke but comfortable enough to take my clothes off in front of anyone and give a really good back massage. It turns out that money does matter, should have spent that time learning skills that would last a lifetime, like... plumbing.

While we're at it, I'd like to get back the brainpower I've frittered away on Facebook. For the record, I am interested in what people I went to high school are doing now, but generally speaking, not right at this minute.

The last few months has been filled with so much to be angry about, it's hard to distill it down to just a few things, but what have we learned? You can't trust your bank, your broker, facialist, or nutritionist, always wear a helmet when skiing and don't practice with your bow and arrow if you live in an urban neighborhood.

I just hope no will tell us that red wine is not really good for you. That may be the only bright spot in the economy these days. Liquor sales are holding strong.

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