You'll have to excuse me, but I'm very upset. I just got the morning mail, and there, dropped on my desk, was that letter I've been expecting. It was postmarked Washington, D.C., with a return address from Mr. Timothy Geithner. I knew immediately what it was. It was the results from my stress test.
"Greetings!" it began. "We have just concluded the battery of exercises that quantified your financial status, the totality of which make up the document commonly known as your 'stress test.' We are sorry to inform you that your grade on the aforementioned examination rounded up to a 61 on a scale of 100. As you may know, that is a failing grade in any school and it is our duty to therefore inform you that remedial action will need to be taken."
At that point I sat down on my least comfortable chair and thought about things. This was scary. I had failed my stress test! What would happen now?
"It is clear from the results of your test," the letter continued, "that you still suffer from a variety of conditions that, if they continue, will in fact stress your economic and personal infrastructure to the breaking point, to wit:
-- You still owe quite a bit of money on your home;
-- Your family-related costs are out of control;
-- Your income is stagnant, with a potential downside of 10%-20% year-over-year in '09;
-- Your dog continues to cost as much as a Scion XB annually, expense that continues to escalate and shows no signs of amelioration in the near term.
-- Your tax position would choke a moose;
-- You continue to spend money as if you had more.
"For these and other reasons, you have failed to achieve a passing grade. Please report to..." and then it gave an address in Washington, and a date, and so on and so forth, your obedient humble servant, etc., etc., signed T. Geithner.
So that's it. On May 12, I have to see Mr. Geithner and receive the counseling session that is mandatory for all those who have failed to pass muster. And then I will receive my punishment for having disgraced myself in such a fiduciary fashion. I wonder... should I take it in cash or certified check?