12.04.2008

Metaphorically speaking: The Fall

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money) ; broadly : figurative language (Merriam-Webster). The example is quite ironic given the present state of affairs.

I thought I would take a look at Camus' last novel, the title is apropos in these gloomy times, and the theme (absurdity) may also be appropriate.

The economic history of the G. W. Bush years, as reflected by a Vanguard mutual fund (aka my 401K)

As work has been very ominously quiet lately, I have spent a lot of time reading the New York Times business section and free articles on the Wall Street Journal site. It's illustrative but depressing, and many downward metaphors have been tossed about to describe these queasy and unsettling times. I saw a comment somewhere that described the US economy as a building with termites, it looks solid from afar but the reality is that it is rotten and soft, one could put a fist through the wall, or kick down a door, with little effort: Condemned as "structurally unsound".

A capture from the opening credits to Mad Men, a series about being on the cusp of change... hmm.

As should be quite obvious by reading this site, I spend a lot of time in the outdoors. I usually am fairly cautious and conservative, I don't take too many unnecessary risks. One of the stupidest things I've done, however, was to try and walk across Colchester Pond one late afternoon in early December before the pond was thoroughly frozen. I did this solely because of impatience, I knew it wasn't a good idea when I started. It was a windy day and the ice was not very thick and as I got to a point about 1/3 of the way across I could feel the ice sheet going up and down because of the pressure of the wind, and this was accompanied by loud compressive booms. Needless to say, I paused to consider my predicament -- I thought I was dead, if I had gone through the ice, no one was going to come along and perform a rescue -- and very gingerly and cautiously beat a retreat back to shallower waters with thicker ice.

When I survey the present situation, I sometimes think back to being out on that semi-frozen pond, feeling the tremors and hearing the cracks and booms of the ice, and very cautiously picking a route back to shore -- I really thought there was a good chance I'd end up going through. I am not sure what the future holds but hopefully things will solidify, but I think it's going to take a while, and I strongly suspect I'm going to get more than a little wet.

1 comment:

bmike said...

there's a good chance quite a few of us might end up a little more than wet... but here's hoping things remain civil and folks work to put real assets in play that invigorate our local economies, roads, schools, etc. etc...

i certainly haven't felt or seen much trickle down from the 'bailout' - and neither have many folks in my industry - clients included.