The good thing about tragedy is that it often makes us more clever.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that most of us didn’t know the difference between sub-prime and a sub sandwich. In fact, I personally still don’t, but I’m one of the lucky ones who can’t afford to invest. Unless it’s in sandwiches.
The thing is, while the current economic collapse has left most of us poorer in the pocket, it’s happily left our language quite a bit richer. And luckily for us, many of the neologisms (literally "new words") that’ve come from the ash of our former cash are actually pretty goddamn far out. The best of them indicate a new way of thinking about work, money, and takin’ ‘er easy. Here’s a sampler platter for leisurely consideration:
Most vacations are ludicrioiusly expensive, hurried, ridden with worry, and ultimately forgettable. In the US most people only get two weeks to kick back and enjoy themselves. This is criminal even by the standards of the developing world.
Not only do Europeans get at least a month off a year (if not more) but if you add up the huge amount of holidays celebrated in poorer nations like India and Thailand, the US might just have one of the world’s lowest GDZs (Gross Domestic Sleeping-in). The architects of US employment were labor-crazed fun-fearing Puritan party poopers. You see what happens?
The problem with getting only two weeks for a vacation means that when you count in travel time, wrong turns, figuring out where the best restaurants are, proper attunement of the bowels, and a few days inevitably lost to hangover, there’s not much time left for proper relaxation. And that, quite literally, is what a vacation is meant to be. The word comes from the Latin vacatio: "freedom from occupation," and vacatus: "to be empty, at leisure." The only reason people generally leave home to "get away from it all" is the same reason drug addicts go into rehab. Seriously — statistically speaking, work is harder to kick than crack.
However, with the right attitude and a crucial lack of funds, a staycation may be the most sensible option of all. Unplugging all your daily appliances (computer, TV, deep-fat-fryer) and picking up a stack of library books to be read in parks and coffeehouses around town, going for long walks around your own city, and brushing up on your long-neglected bowling skills — these are just a few examples of the relaxing leisure waiting to be had. You might have to actually physically remove the power cables from the abovementioned appliances, however, and deposit them at a friend’s house. Remember: "Just a little email" can turn into an weekend-long porn and trivia binge.
Not having money can be a disaster if you’ve got lots of debts and a family to feed. But if you’ve either got some savings or are suitably unencumbered, or both, then getting canned from the job you hate might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
Not long ago, it took Herculean effort for anyone with rudimentary computer knowledge to be unemployed. Today, hooray! you’re not so special anymore. Lots of formerly ambitious folks are taking their new redundancy or obsolescence or downsizing or slayoff or whatever they’re calling it nowadays and enjoying the newfound "rendundancy" of their alarm clock instead. Behold: funemployment.
Too many people never get the chance to "do what they always wanted to do" because they start working as soon as they leave college and stop working when their heart does. But a sabbatical is a holy and sacred thing — think shabbos but stretched out a lot further. Creating some space in your life to think and ponder and sure-as-shit-not-fucking-roll can really tie your life together in ways heretofore unimagined. It’s all part of the yin yang bowling ball cycle, man — you’ve got to create space now and then so that you’ll know what best to fill it with. You won’t be unemployed forever, so make sure to achieve the modest task which is your charge…by not achieving anything at all for a while.
Given less disposable income amongst buyers, most products are selling rather poorly these days. There are a few notable exceptions, however, the most interesting being condoms. Turns out that there’s nothing that beats the insolvency or out-of-work blues like a bit of the old in-n-out. Given more free time and less distraction, people are rediscovering the joys of sex, a resexssion, if you will. And with more people going on staycations and finding themselves funemployed, it stands (or sits, or lays, or bends over) to reason that just as post-WWII prosperity churned out a famous "baby boom," our current poverty might ironically elicit the very same phenomenon. We’ll call them lazy boomers.
That’s the way the whole durn human comedy keeps perpetuatin’ itself after all. Got any of that good sarsaparilla-flavored massage oil? Catch ya further on down the tail.
Know of any more neologisms to warm the cockles of the Dudeist heart? Please post them in the comments section below or send them to us at [email protected].