Okay, so my Redbook editor just emailed to say she'd been axed. My husband was just downsized from his media tech job. His twin brother just lost his hedge fund job last week. Our good friend Dan was given a pink slip from his corporate conglomerate, and my high school boyfriend no longer works at Lehman. I know it's bad science to use personal experience as a white collar trend barometer, but let's just say you've been warned. It's happening. It's real. And it's definitely not fun.
Sorry to be a downer on this of all days, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that yins always have their yangs. This is, without doubt, one of the most -- if not the most -- historic moment in our country's 232 years, but it also may turn out to be one of the more painful. Eight years of buying into the mirage of trickle down economics has taken a toll on the average Joe, never mind Joe the plumber or Joe the investment banker or Joe the dude holding out his cup on the street corner outside my apartment, begging for quarters.
My grandpa Albert, who was profoundly affected by the last depression, used to scold me whenever I'd leave three Cheerios floating in my breakfast bowl. "Eat them!" he'd beg. "You never know when you'll have Cheerios again." I had no idea what he was talking about. Of course I'd have Cheerios again. In fact, I'd have them the next morning. And the morning after that. And the morning after that. Grandpa Al would sing to himself, while forcing me and my sisters to eat every drop of food on our plates, and it was always the same song: "Once I had a railroad, made it run, made it race against time. Once I had a railroad, now it's done, brother can you spare a dime?"
His voice was beautiful, deep and sonorous, and this morning, while pouring Cheerios into my children's bowls, trying to hold it together, I found myself humming along to its memory.