The economic recession has made one expression very popular: “It will get worse before it gets better.” Actually, I think the reverse may be true: “It will get better before it gets worse.”
We all use clichés and popular phrases in our daily discourse. The economic recession has made one such expression very popular: “It will get worse before it gets better.” Actually, I think the reverse may be true: “It will get better before it gets worse.”
We have experienced several weeks recently when we saw slight improvements in the stock market only to witness it fall precipitously. Experts said the market was still looking for the bottom. (If it goes that deep, won’t the market get the bends when it tries to rise to the surface?)
A few weeks later, the same experts said the market had found the bottom and soon things would be better. The market rose for two days and then fell 250 points, erasing previous gains.
There are other events in life like this. A non-financial example can be seen in nearly everyone’s freshman year in college. Most freshmen undergo a rude awakening their first semester. They realize they have to read entire books, write detailed lab reports and deal with the unusual lifestyles of their roommates. For the first time in their academic lives they get – can we say this out loud? – a C for a grade. The second term is better. They have learned how to schedule their study time effectively and they avoid their dorm rooms except to sleep. Their grades improve.
But wait, the students spend a glorious summer working as interns and catching some sun and return to college in the fall. They immediately tumble into that strange, illogical time known as “sophomore slump.” It got worse after being better.
“We live in a global economy.” When haven’t we lived in a global economy? Even the early colonial settlers relied on shipments from England after their first frosty years learning how to harvest corn. Remember the tea problem?
The global economy phrase is now a code word for pandemic panic. If we have a reduction in imports of coffee from Brazil, the price of silicon chips in California will tumble, the price of iron ore from Michigan will soar and barge traffic on the Mississippi will cease. We live in a global economy.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This famous Franklin Delano Roosevelt phrase, said at his inauguration in March 1933, was certainly true in FDR’s day when unemployment rose above 25 percent and the country was in the grasp of The Great Depression. But, today, I think, “We have more to fear than just fear itself.” We have two wars we are fighting simultaneously, a volatile Middle East, a diffident Iran, a defiant North Korea, a health care system with stratospheric costs, a deepening recession and tainted peanut butter. Not to mention 500 channels of vapid television, 25 percent of which are devoted to “reality” TV shows.
“We have to walk the walk not just talk the talk.” There are many variations on this expression. It is a more modern version of what our mothers used to say: “Actions speak louder than words.” Loan officers everywhere aren’t even talking the talk. This affects even Donald the Trump. Who is walking the walk? Well, some people are hoping that Bernard Madoff, who is alleged to have defrauded billions of dollars from his clients in a Ponzi scheme that rivals the size of the Khufu pyramid at Giza, will walk the walk – the perp walk.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” Thank you, Yogi Bera. Actually, it may be over before it’s over. Take New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. He got injured in the first drive of the first game in 2008. His season was over before it was over.
Let’s hope the recession is over before it’s over and let’s try to be less fearful, even if it causes a shortage of Prozac in the global economy.
Peter Costa is a senior editor with Community Newspaper Company. His book, "CostaLiving: Laughing through life," a collection of his humor columns, is available at amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble bookstores.