01/28/2009 02:22 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Thanks for Nothing

Like an asthmatic, flat-footed brainiac on the dreaded gym class mile run (not to divulge too much about my adolescent self), we as a nation are now grimly limping toward the end of the year, teeth gritted, bracing ourselves for the next spasm and wondering if there's anything we can possibly do about the throbbing in our shins (if "shins" means "wallets" and "throbbing" means "Sweet cracklin' Kalamazoo, but I am broke."). Citigroup flounders, Detroit CEOs go begging for a little private jet fuel money, and on we go in our broken, hobbled stride, hoping that the next turn will finally bring the January 20 finish line into view.

Not that everything's going to be Peaches & Herb once Obama is sworn in. As I wrote a couple weeks back, we need to keep expectations for an Obama presidency realistic, lest we end up calling for his head because he proves to be incapable of transubstantiating assault rifles into cost-efficient photovoltaic cells. The economy won't be fixed on January 21. It'll be plumbing the chilly depths of the commode for the duration of 2009, most likely. Might wanna think about rekindling your relationship with beans and toast.

But hey, people are looking forward to something. The hopemonger has in fact delivered that which he so tirelessly mongered. Whereas a scant few months ago my dream of going to the Orkneys on a catamaran for summer solstice seemed out of reach for a non-Rockefeller like me, now I find myself thinking crazy things like, "Ya know, maybe smart people who work hard can achieve their goals."

Some people I know would call this point "stupid" or "lame" or "pussyfied." These people have a familiar take on hope, which says, "Shit in one hand, hope in the other, see which one fills up first." Get it? Because hope is nothing! But it begs the question: would you rather have an empty hand or a hand full of poop? Would you rather give poop or nothing to your kids? How easy is it to fill out a loan application with crappy fingers? If you prefer the dookie, that's fine, I ain't gonna get in your way. I'll take the hope. It may be nothing, but sometimes it's better than something.

Hopey Thanksgiving!