Time once again to field questions from Nancy Naive, who poses a series of queries about current events.
So, whatís the big news?
I canít tell you.
What do you mean?
Shh. Be quiet. Donít talk about it. Donít think about it.
About what?
The stock market, silly. The Dow is falling. Stock prices around the world were in turmoil Monday. And the experts are telling us not to do anything. They say we shouldnít even look at the balance of our 401k for a few days. They say we should just forget about it for now and pretend it doesnít exist, sort of like what we try to do with Donald Trump.
Because Donald Trump is an aberration and we should be embarrassed as a nation that a man covered in orange glop who says things like, ďI have a great relationship with the blacks,Ē is leading the polls. Unless he was referring to neighbors with the last name of Black, heís a disgrace.
No, I mean why shouldnít we check our investment balances?
Oh, sorry. Because our leaders apparently fear that if we check our portfolio this week, panicked Americans will be gripped by a wave of Depression-era nostalgia and hurl ourselves en masse from the top of the Chrysler Building.
Whatís causing this big drop in the Dow?
Thatís an excellent question, Nancy, one Iíd be qualified to answer were I armed with a degree from the London School of Economics and a Ouija board.
What do you mean?
The stock market is a complete mystery, understood by no one except Warren Buffett and that annoying know-it-all colleague who sits next to you at work. Many television pundits and financial advisers pretend to understand the stock market and they prattle on about it 24-7. All of them are lying.
How do you know?
Itís obvious. A few months ago they blamed Greece for the losses. Now theyíre blaming China for devaluing the yuan, a form of currency that tends to induce extreme boredom. There are many random countries on the globe that can be held responsible for market performance on any given day, and I say next time we blame the French. Those Parisians are such snoots. And isnít it high time we point the finger at Denmark for something? How come theyíre always above the fray?
What will happen next?
Some experts say the overall U.S. economy is strong and itís not yet time to panic. Others suggest that now would be an excellent time to raid the liquor cabinet. One Debbie Downer hysteric says we should stock up on canned food and bottled water. Some note that this is what markets do and itís perfectly normal. In other words, no one has a clue. But Warren Buffett once said that his favorite measure of stock-market valuation was total stock-market capitalization to gross domestic product. I hope that clears everything up.
It doesnít. Is there anything we can be happy about?
Well, I feel rather vindicated by the big news about salad.
What news?
A story Monday in The Washington Post says we need to ďrethinkĒ salad because it ďhas almost nothing going for it.Ē Lettuce takes up lots of crop acreage, needs fossil fuels to be shipped and adds little nutrition to our meals because itís almost all water. That also goes for boring salad ingredients such as cucumbers, radishes and celery. This makes me happy.
Iíve never been a fan of salads. I donít like to make them and I donít like to eat them. Iíve always considered them a big waste of time at dinner parties, where theyíre served on special little plates and you have to finish them before you can get to the good stuff. This anti-salad bias has resulted in much disdain from health-conscious friends who insist that I donít eat right when we meet up for dinner and Iím the only one who orders a cheeseburger. The only exception is the Cobb salad at The Sole, which is packed with healthy ingredients such as cheese and bacon bits.
So I guess you wonít be serving salads.
If the market doesnít improve, Nancy, Iíll be serving Spam.
Dianne Williamson writes for The Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette.