Monday, November 24, 2008

Look away from the big board!

Two days in a row now, we've had the Dow going way-way up. Absolute craziness. Today's is, in part, because Citigroup got a bailout. I really don't know why GM, Ford, and Chrysler didn't get one now. And I'm thinking, there's only so much bailout money to go around. Did you know, that after begging for all those billions of *our* dollars and making plans to lay off 52,000 workers, the wastes of carbon at Citigroup have decided to go ahead with a deal to attach its name to the Mets' stadium? At the tune of $20 million a year for the next 20 years. Gods, I hate baseball anyway, but this doesn't help. (Of course, I would also think it'd be irresponsible if they sponsored Tony Stewart's car or worked out a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. No, really, I would!) I'm sick of these corporate executives who major on the minors and minor on the majors.

"Don't let Jayelle look at the big board! It's going up, way up!"

The Dow's going way-way up, and everyone in my office knows why. It's because I am not permitted to look at the Dow between open and close. The Witch in me says maybe our words are manifesting. The skeptic in me, as well as the full-time skeptic who I married, says we're trying to feel like we have more control than we do and I'm a bit too willing to help.

There are a lot of superstitions. If you spill salt, pick up a pinch and throw it over your shoulder. Don't walk under a ladder. (That just seems like common sense to me.) Green cars are bad luck. (Kyle Busch proved that wrong early in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.) I am a very superstitious person, and have a few of my own personal quirks, like never holding on to a losing lottery ticket. Practically every piece of wood in my home has "knock" marks. But with all this, I never thought a superstition would start around me. It began with me saying a few key sentences several times where people could hear me: "Oh, I'm not gonna look at the stocks. Every time I look, the numbers start going down. No, they're going down again! I can't look!"

"Damn it, is Jayelle looking at the Dow?"
"You're not looking at the Dow, right? You sure? 'Cause it's going down."

There are several flat-screen TVs in the halls, lobby, etc., and each one is tuned to a news station. When I pass one, hands fly in front of the screen where the numbers tick. Or the hands fly in front of my face. Sometimes people stand in front of the TV. A couple of times, someone has grabbed me by the shoulders--not hard, don't worry--and physically spun me around. Once someone took my glasses off of my face and started playing keep-away with them. That did not end well for him, because I got him disciplined. That was my line, and he stepped over it.

"Close your eyes, Jayelle. We can't take chances today!"

I don't like being thought of as any kind of jinx, but I don't mind it, not for the most part. It's kind of good-natured. I mean, everyone knows the bad luck is really a perfect storm of bad decisions made by many people, and has nothing to do with me. If it'll make you feel better, I'll close my eyes for a second or laugh when you block the TV. Hell, I don't actually want to look all that often myself. It's too damned scary.

But there's something a little worrisome in this. Centuries ago, the quirkier women in the villages were accused of causing all kinds of bad stuff. They'd look at a cow, and the cow would give sour milk, and this would be considered the woman's fault. If she was too ugly or too beautiful or too smart or too poor or too some damned thing, she'd be called a witch and tortured to her death. In Africa, this still goes on. Nigerian pastors are labeling children as witches and charging up to a year's income for exorcisms.

But this is the 21st century, in New York City. These are smart people who know the real causes of these problems, at least have a good idea of them. On November 20th, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece stating that secularists, non-Christians, and people who won't say "Merry Christmas" are to blame for our current economic problems. Even smart people who know better want to find an easy target. Even smart people who know better can take a false correlation way too far. Even smart people who know better not only yield to superstitions, but create them.

Merry Christmas, everyone. That and a pair of blinders oughta be good for a few extra points on the NYSE's big board tomorrow. Never mind what politicians or executives do.

I wish I really did have that much power sometimes.

Links, links:

Things probably aren't Great Depression-bad.

Are we more or less free than we were 40 years ago?

Forget that "Twilight" nonsense--True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels it's based on have a much better hot vampire boyfriend! Also, a much smarter human female protagonist.

Finally, a couple of toys that may or may not tell you something about yourself based on your blog. Just plug in the URL! The Typealyzer will give you what might be your Myers-Briggs type. The Gender Analyzer purports to guess your gender. I'm female and normally test as ENFP; I was guessed to be female with a 60 percent probability (though my blog is "gender neutral") and an ESFP.


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Oh my gosh - what a fascinating post full of interesting (and some maddening) things. I am a bit supersitious myself so just keep your eyes off the board!

I tried the type analyzer on all my blogs and it did seem to reflect the personality of each one! I am an INFJ and it came close to guessing that on my most personal blog :)

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

P.S. The gender thing thought I was a man! (hmmm maybe I better shave)

Also, thank you so much for the comment about Wyatt, what you said really touched me, and its true!

BostonPobble said...

Pobble Thoughts came up female but another blog I write came up 54% male but really quite gender neutral. On the one hand, it makes sense. On the other...well, I write like me. :)

Hmmm...drop me a line when you can. You might like this other blog.

(and my word verification is "doodshe" which kinda works!)