Black Dog

It's been hard lately. 

I can't quite put my finger on why. Churchill liked to call such periods of melancholy and depression his 'black dog' but I'm not sure I'd call this melancholy or depression. Maybe some people can still stay in bed for days on end and do nothing and embrace the blackness for a while- Lord knows, that sounds tempting enough some days- just a day to sit and do nothing. Whether it's binge a television show that's not a cartoon or just staring at a blank wall for hours on end and being in your own head for a little bit, that sounds nice right now. It sounds very nice indeed.

The world doesn't help. We're cracking down- I'm sure everyone is- belts are tightening, but the margins these days are fucking thin. One random Black Swan event and I don't know what we'd do. I'm sure we would do what people do in such times, which is 'figure it out and survive and scrape' somehow, but I feel like it should be just a little easier right now. Hell, even a gas tax holiday. That mythical student loan forgiveness they've been hinting at. Something to make it just a little easier would be nice.

But no one is interested in that. It's kind of fucked that we live in a country where the needs of the citizenry come dead last behind the geopolitics of the Establishment, and its shitty ideologies, and then maybe, whatever crumbs are left over will come down to the regular folks at the bottom. This is the problem: in the absence of trust, what Institutions can we believe? And if the people decide: none of them, well then nature abhors a vacuum and all kinds of toxic swill will rush in to fill the void.

Something like 10,000 cattle died in Kansas and real people were convinced that this was a wider conspiracy attacking the food supply. Maybe the food supply warnings that are everywhere these days will come true-- I don't know, but fuck, it felt depressing. It felt toxic. It felt crazy and bordering on mental illness to read that. Most of the so-called list was poultry and if you cram several thousand chickens or turkey or other fowl into a small space and one of them gets bird flu, they've all gotta die. That doesn't mean it's a conspiracy. That doesn't mean we're all gonna have to eat bugs and own nothing. As the wise man said: Shit just happens. What the hell.

The most valuable commodity right now seems to be time. Neither the Missus nor I seem to have enough of it. Everything is just balls to the wall nuts and there are things that need doing that just can't get done. Or won't get done and it's starting to frustrate us.

Everything feels toxic, depressing, and impossible one moment and the next-- well, last night, Baby H-- our last baby, we've decided, barring a wild-ass decision to adopt a girl-child from somewhere- took two, halting steps under his own power. My living room was clean. It was a night we were ahead of the curve on dinner, and bedtime, and we were actually just chilling and having some family time for once. That was the moment. That was the peak. 

There's a really great Tik-Tok that floats around now and again and it's Tom Hanks with a bunch of young actors and he's talking about the great advice he got: "This too, shall pass." 

And it will. There are all kinds of grim predictions out there, of food shortages and runaway inflation and stagflation-- but for every one you pick, you can find a dozen more. It's picking your favorite inflationary explanation and really, in a world that doesn't allow for nuance, we should probably consider that it's a little bit of everything. 

Do I think it'll go full stagflation? No, I don't. People may not trust the Fed, but they're not idiots either and they have the benefit of hindsight. I think they're going to want to do everything they can to avoid the Volcker Scenario. (Prime interest rate in 1981: 21.5%, the recession that followed saw unemployment spike to 10%). Supply chains will ease. There will be action on gas prices-- because if they can't convince Biden to restart energy production, there's nothing Republicans love more than cutting taxes- and 2024 is right around the corner. We'll get through it.

Once we're on the other side, it'll be different. The past couple of weeks have been peaks and valleys, valleys and peaks... we're just in a larger scale one right now. 

Just writing all this down has already made me feel better about things. We're in choppy waters on the great sea of life, but I am fortunate indeed. Perspective helps


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