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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fed To End "Crisis of Confidence" With Cocaine

"There is no better stimulus package than an actual package of stimulant."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake announced Tuesday morning a plan to restore confidence in the US financial markets by distributing a massive amount of cocaine to US investment bankers. The news was well-received by investors and Wall Street traders in lower Manhattan.

"One thing is for certain -- we're in challenging times. But another thing is for certain -- that we've taken strong and decisive action," President Bush told reporters shortly after distribution began. "Operation Line Drive began at 8AM this morning, with bales of cocaine attached to parachutes dropped from Apache helicopters all over lower Manhattan. We needed to get the cocaine to the investment bankers before the markets opened, and we have done just that."

The cocaine, like food and cash drops by the US military over Iraq and other nations facing their own crises, has made its way to those who most need it, although inevitably some did end up in the hands of members of the populace not involved in investment banking. The highly active homeless population at Battery Park was evidence of this. "We knew that some of the cocaine would end up in the wrong hands, but these are trying times. We saw the only solution was to just drop more cocaine in hopes that the investment bankers would get enough to restore their shattered confidence."

The cocaine has already restored the confidence of one trader. "I was really down about everything about an hour ago. The Bear Stearns thing and everything was a real flatliner. It wasn't until I got all this cocaine that I remembered that I'm the fucking man. This is a tough city and a tough business. Only the smartest and most powerful people like me can survive and even thrive through all of this. God damn I'm fucking important. Hey, you got a cigarette?"

Traders are bracing for an enormous volume of trades. "I don't really have any idea what these dudes are going to be up to today, but it's gonna be something. Definitely going to be heavy action. I have a feeling that these guys are going to try to prove to themselves they are the bigshots they really think they are. I just hope they're not so coked up that I won't be able to understand the orders."

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Donuts Cigarettes Coffee

About a fifteen second walk out of my office to the main hallway and into the next office suite area on a metal book shelf sits two boxes containing delicious donuts. If there was a crisis situation necessitating me getting to the donuts sooner than fifteen seconds, I could probably get there in six, eight seconds tops. The donuts came from one of those really good bakeries. This morning I had just one, an old fashioned sour cream glazed jobber. Those good bakery donuts have the perfect balance of sugar, fat, and structure so that their goodness lasts throughout the day, unlike krispy kremes that go to total shit. The once nice glaze on those krispy kremes starts to melt when they start a-rubbin' together or if the temperature climbs outside of the quality control range. That melted glaze is impossible to get off your hands with just a napkin - you have to get up (if it's even possible after the shot of cholesterol hits the bloodstream) and go wash your hands or your keyboard and mouse will get all sticky. Maybe you don't care about that, but if you're at home and have roommates and one of them uses your 'puter, he or she might get sick not knowing the exact reason for sticky fingers.

That donut I had this morning delivered everything I was looking for from it. I got the sugar rush, the flavor, and then got the sugar crash and sick feeling you get after eating something so wonderfully unhealthy. I was able to not go back for another. Before lunch I went gyming and played some pickup soccer for a little bit outside. After my peanut butter and jelly sandwich I was still a bit hungry so I went to CVS and purchased mixed nuts and crackers.

Now I am full, but the nuts and the crackers are unopened. I was reminded about the donuts and pounded two more. The first had chocolate frosting and coconut. It was so damn good. The second was a cake donut with a sugar coating - not powdered sugar, the bigger granules - and that little bastard was tasty as shit too. I so far have resisted going back for my 3rd of the afternoon and fourth of the day, but there are still 2 hours left in my workday.

It's a damn shame donuts are so hard for me to process now. Donuts have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. Back in southeastern Michigan, I remember my dad coming into the kitchen with a coffee and a box of donuts on Saturday mornings. My mom would make me eat regular breakfast before going to town on them. In southwestern Michigan, I have fond memories of family trips to Wick's Apple House, home of the most delicious donuts I have ever had. They were the type that would only be good for a day or two and were the dense cake style. All of their varieties were amazing. The plains had a perfect amount of oil on them so that they really went down easy, especially with some fresh cider. Their trademark was their cinnamon sugar variety. It was a very fine powder and was just loaded on, to the point where on most of the donuts in the dozen bags you couldn't even tell there was a hole in the middle because it was all jammed up with cinnamon sugar. I never tried snorting the cinnamon sugar because I was very young and additionally it made no sense. But what I did do was put the center sugar-rich section up to my open mouth and take a quick little breath in. It was very uncomfortable, and sometimes I ended up dropping the donut in a fit of coughing, but this was one of the stupid rituals I stuck myself with so I just did it. When I went away to college I really missed those Wick's donuts. A few times I went home and brought some back with me and shared them with my closest friends.

The first job I ever had was working cleaning machines and PC's on the shop floor at a local machining shop, and yes, donuts were a big part of my job. On Saturdays I made sure to get in before the 9:15 break because the owner of the plant would always bring in boxes of donuts to the break room. It doesn't get a whole lot better than taking off the big rubber gloves I wore while wiping down lathes and drill presses and mills with shop cloths, taking a nice sip of fresh coffee, a big bite of donut, and capping it off with the first drag of a Camel filter. On a good day, I would finish the donut, cigarette, and coffee timed so that I would hear the sound of the end-of-break buzzer from the commode I just sat down on.

That was the kind of job that a feller could do just about as well stoned out of his gourd as not, so he usually was.

I used to do a lot of thinking back then about the magical donut-cigarette-coffee interaction. I wasn't the only one either. The band fishbone wrote a song about it. I used to think about how, if I won the lottery, I would want to spend my days eating the finest donuts the world had to offer, having sex with a beautiful woman, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes. I figured that the sex would help keep me from becoming morbidly obese if I did it enough. Now that I'm a nonsmoker, one of the three crucial pieces is gone, so if I somehow won the lottery or a 20+ team parlay I would have to find another way to spend my time. Commercial real estate in DC is probably too expensive for a donut or coffee shop to survive, the kind I loved so much back in the Midwest. Maybe there are enough Midwesterners around here who miss 24-hour coffee shops enough that one could survive here, but it would have to be like a country club where you have membership fee and quarterly dues. Everything about it would be like a typical South Bend, IN diner with a big "EAT" sign outside though, except maybe for the crappers, which would be really nice with multi-ply toilet paper and no urine everywhere.

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