Recently I’ve heard journalists and other disreputable fools refer to 2010 as an example of a “double dip recession”. This is spoken as if it were actually an intelligent statement.
Of course “double dip recession” is verbiage borne of wishful thinking and a desire to make simple ugly truths not be so simple or ugly. Me? I’m already both simple and ugly so I don’t buy into this semantic horseshit. Here’s a story that explains the meaning of “double dip recession”.
I know this will shock the very few people who read this blog but occasionally I partake of the dreaded demon liquor. (Goodness gracious will I get kicked out of choir practice now that the secret is out?) But yes I definitely do imbibe. Some years ago I was imbibing the shit out of a bottle of vodka while careening around the forest with a half dozen like minded maniacs. Somehow the bottle became magically mostly empty. Over a few dim moments of addled thinking it dawned on my single functioning synapse that everyone around me was drinking beer. What had I done? This is called an “economic bubble”.
I was about to have one hell of a morning after. I wisely capped the bottle and tottered off to avoid causing more damage to my liver. It’s one thing to mean to do something smart and it’s another thing to be falling down stinking drunk so all I managed was to bounce off a tree and collapse head first into a snowdrift. This is called “reality”. You can deny reality for a short time or deny it for a long time but sooner or later all houses of cards collapse. My time had drawn nigh.
Time stopped. Somehow, apparently before I died of hypothermia because I’m here to tell the story, I got myself indoors. Good for me because I’d be dead by dawn otherwise. This is called “almost but not quite destroying the entire system”.
Time stopped again. It was dark. Maybe. At any rate I was still very drunk but already sporting a stupendous hangover. A real doozy. The kind of Old Testament hangover that caused me to doubt the reason and purpose of all the suffering of all humanity…and specifically why all the misery on earth was happening to me all at once. If I’d had even a single thought it would have been to wonder why the side of the toilet feels like the only beacon of salvation in a life devoid of hope. But alas all I did was endure misery. This is a “recession”.
Eventually I recovered enough to take an aspirin and sprawl on the carpet trying to hold the damned floor still. I’d also managed to get some water into the shattered husk of my body. Perhaps that would keep me hydrated and stop my brain from bashing out through my ear and running away from all the pain? After an unknowable amount of time things began to feel better. I was still drunk and still hungover. But I thought there was maybe just maybe a chance I wouldn’t die (or beg to) before I rode this thing out. In 2009 they called this “green shoots” and “hints of prosperity” or “anything positive we can imagine or make up to say now that the election is over”. (A classic “journalist” angle throughout ’09 was to gleefully report that while things were getting worse they were getting worse more slowly. This is why I think it’s funny that print newspapers are screwed. They stopped even pretending to report reality and just became cheerleaders without tits. As we all know, and the New York Times has discovered, cheerleaders without tits are far too annoying to tolerate. Especially when you can find all the tits you want for free on the internet.)
So there I was; feeling bad but maybe not so terribly bad as before. Was the recession over? Ask yourself this; had my long suffering liver processed the poisons I’d dumped on it? Of course not! All I’d done was to splash some “stimulus” on top of the underlying fact that I’d dumped a truckload of Russian rotgut down my throat. Anyone watching me twitch and shudder there on the floor would have easily seen I’d merely masked the misery. I hadn’t yet changed a damned thing. My optimism was naïve self-deception.
Then, like clockwork, the aspirin wore off and the next wave hit. Just as brutal and heartless as the first. Not only did the toilet no longer cool my face but the damn thing smacked me on the nose. I’m also pretty sure someone picked up Thor’s hammer and beat my skull until the walls shook. I was once again in a “recession”.
Now I’m no fool. Looking back (and shuddering at the memory) I know what I had was a full fledged out of body experience professional grade hangover from hell. But just one hangover. Not two hangovers with a small break of “green shoots” and “modest jobless recovery” in the middle. The tiny bit of peace in the middle was just a fleeting illusion in the greater maelstrom. But what would I say if I were a journalist (possibly of a bankrupt print outlet) in 2010? Well I’d say it was a “double dip recession”…because somehow that would make it seem better.
Now you know the true definition of “double dip recession”.
P.S. The events described above happened in the early 1990’s. This is why, and as far as I can tell the only reason why, I didn’t blame it on George W. Bush. How could it possibly be that there was misery in the time preceding “the Dipshit before Obama” as the media’s default object of blame? Some mysteries are unknowable but I’ll admit that in the throes of my personal “recession” I would gladly blame anyone but me for my disastrous state…which is why I’m a lot like a typical voter.