No Holds Barred: Free Falling

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Jacob Peter Gowy's The Flight of Icarus( 1635–1637)

Blame it on mercury retrograde (Sept 4th – Oct 2nd) but this last month had to be one of the worst of the year. Personally, September is never easy as most of my family members died after Labor Day. So, Yahrzeit candles are perpetually burning all over my living room. For me, September always stands for a giant shiva sit.

At first, the death of Queen Elizabeth actually made me feel a bit better with all that pageantry and nobility. Clearly standing in the London queue line to see her coffin was THE PLACE to be this year. Imagine, 250,000 people walked the 5 miles to see her at Westminster, and her funeral topped the Super Bowl in TV viewership. As it should! What’s remarkable is that with all those people coming into London from everywhere to say goodbye, there was no post event Covid surges — or was there and nobody cares anymore?

Over 50,000 letters and cards have been sent to The Royal Family following the death of Queen Elizabeth. theroyalfamily

Then we have the stock market blow out. Last week it closed out on the worst month, the worst week, and the worst day in 20 years. Even if you don’t have a portfolio in the game, you felt this slump. For a while now, a lot of people have felt in free fall with no safety net. Blame it on the financial since we haven’t really been here ever before. Sure the 1980 recession was something, but this is different, and nobody knows shit yet again! Experts say it will all come back in 3-5 years. Come back to what? And some of us don’t have that amount of time left. “Bounce Back” seems a long way away.

Then again, look at the real estate market. A NYC “palatial home” at 8 East 62nd street (with Hermes leather walls) just sold for $48 million. Discounted from $84.5 million. Housing is all a crapshoot. Retreats to Florida have been put on hold.

Your “Forever” home on discount.

I just went through 4 months of a moderate home renovation, and I thought I would lose my mind. It seemed like a great reboot project (at 75) till I found myself in OVERWHELM with all the contractor problems, hold-ups, and labor shortage issues. I made it through. But, not without thinking of suicide as a way out for the first time in my life (though a lot of friends comforted me by saying they too thought of it lately). Forgive me for sounding like Debbie Downer, but honestly – times are rough. Or might become so. Easy to say “cinch in your belt” – if you even have one.

Thank God I found Dorothy Parker’s famous “Resume” to get me out of my depths;

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp;
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

No wonder a medical advisory group to the government just recommended all adult Americans 19 – 64 be screened for anxiety. Even Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henniger headlined his recent column “The Next Pandemic – Life Itself.” No kidding! But who doesn’t already have PTSD, sleep disorders, chronic pain, loss of memory, and fear of loss of mind. How about plain old anxiety disorders (my favorite) with social anxiety, panic disorder, separation disorder and basic phobias. You get my drift. Welcome to our lives. Talk about the Age of Anxiety.

Of course, there are plenty of therapies and treatments. And tons of drugs. Even for our anxious pets. Enough with the gummies! But time will tell whether we will ever get on top of this sinking ground swell. I doubt we will find a vaccine for this epidemic. But then again, maybe a “booster” will finally mean something for our minds other than silicon, filler, or antibodies for our bodies.

Edvard Munch, 1893, The Scream, National Gallery of Norway.

I keep hearing the expression “Soft landing” from financial experts and even in dealing with Putin. Or how about the popular expression “exit ramp.” To where exactly? It feels like Putin might nuke anything just to quell his own anxiety over not being the player he used to be.

Then there is the growing worry over the increase of antisemitism. Pals of mine are planning to flee to Israel or Mexico while putting their cash offshore. Again — “offshore” where? I couldn’t leave the USA right now because the airports are all too awful and I can’t remember how to pack the new smaller overhead suitcase to go to either Mexico or Israel. Or anywhere. And frankly, I am too exhausted – and who isn’t suffering from THAT major disorder lately?

Thanks but no thanks!

As my money manager keeps telling me, “Just hang in and stay put a little longer.” What else do I have to do. I have no more tokens for this ride.

And just as we finished with the month’s finale of the stock tumbling, we had Hurricane Ian to further change our landscape of disruption. The visuals of Florida’s west coast further flat lined us all. Remember when THE great Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert made his infamous prediction that the 2000 election would hinge with the state of Florida? His resounding “Florida, Florida, Florida” chant now means a whole lot more. If DeSantis pulls off a fabulous Florida recovery, he could become a presidential frontrunner. Then you have California Governor Newsom coming up the Presidential inside track for the Democrats. So, take your pick. According to politico Kristin Tate, would you rather the USA be more like Florida or California? Pass me another Xanax.

And just in time, we still have good old Cher to tell us all to “snap out of it” (her famous Moonstruck line). She made a surprise finale visit at Balmain’s fashion show during Fashion Week. British Vogue called it “the best celebrity moment of the month” (and some month). There she was in a black latex body suit with plunging neckline, shoulder pads, and platform boots at 76 years old. Balmain said, “She was channeling the spirit of a fearless visionary and celebrating art and culture for all.” Whatever… I just want to be on the drug she’s on.

Please, just let October bring some better trick or treats we can all withstand. Or will it be an October surprise?

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