New Yorkers are preparing for the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene with mixed reaction, unsurprisingly, as New Yorkers are generally — well — mixed. Here on the Upper West Side, ground zero for the highly-evolved and the Mother Ship of “we-know-better,” grim practicality blends with flukey originality to produce predictably warped outcomes. The aisles of Fairway, a food mecca, are crammed with shoppers stocking up on hummus, smoked gouda, bagels, salmon croquettes and other disaster rations. The neighborhood newsstand (actually, there are about forty) reports runs on cigarattes, as New Yorkers generally only buy them one pack at a time (and at $13.00 the pack, you can see why. Everyone desperately entertains the hope of quitting their $26.00/day, or $9490 a year, habit, which, in fact, pretax, if you’re in the 50% bracket, as almost everyone is here, means $18,980. Think about that.).
The fact is, we’re damned glad to have a hurricane. The things that scare the living bejeezus out of all Americans — the debt, the deficit, the unemployment, the — oh, shit, why bother — are so hard to grapple with, and so impossible to defeat, that we’re practically fainting with gratitude to have something to fear that we can actually do something about.
Hence Krugman’s recent insanity, that if only we were confronted by an alien invasion, we would print money, create jobs, and rescue ourselves from our miasma.
Well, Paul, we don’t need create our own monsters; they are already there. Guess what? You’re one of them.
But this is a highly revealing statement by Mr. Krugman – because that is exactly what our politicians try to do all the time: create bogeymen to scare us with. Like what? Well — does global warming come to mind?
Still, it is comforting to spend a few days filling bathtubs, making pea soup, and watching the vary weird notions the neighbors have about storm protection. The folks across the street just duct-taped all their windows with bright-blue Xs. That’s a first for West End Avenue.
Hunker down, Paul. There’s a hard rain….