I think that if I were going to have a stroke, a heart attack, or a nervous breakdown, it would have happened last week. That had to be one of the most stressful weeks that I, you, and anyone else who followed the news has lived through.
One question was on everyone's mind -- Would the United States Congress come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, or would they let the economic sky fall down on us average taxpaying citizens? I mention this not because you want to hear more opinions about our nation's politics, but because you work somewhere in the legal community, which means you work with other people. If last week didn't drive you crazy, congratulations. You must live on a higher mental plane than the rest of us.
As I write, it's about 100 degrees outside today. Stay out in the sun too long, and you could become dehydrated, sick, or delirious. I think of those old movies where someone is lost in the desert and sees this beautiful mirage. He runs to the oasis in his mind, bends down to scoop up a cool, refreshing handful of water, but ends up spitting sand out of his mouth.
One other image comes to mind. As a kid, I used to get a kick out of Charles Atlas muscleman ads in comic books. A skinny kid at the beach would get sand kicked in his face by a bully. Then the kid gets wise and buys the Charles Atlas muscle-building equipment so that he can stand up to the bully.
Last week was a real sand-spitter of a week. If your co-workers were crabby with you, let it go. If you weren't your usual self, forget about it. According to economists quoted in Kiplinger's Magazine, we are in for a rough spell of high unemployment and slow, slow growth. Pay isn't expected to increase in this environment, and monthly bills don't look like they're going to get smaller.
The thing to remember is that you are not powerless. This is a participatory democracy and a free society. You have a voice, a vote, and the ability to think for yourself. The next time you find yourself stressed out and bullied by the news -- economic or political -- remember that. It's not the people in Washington, D.C., who determine our fate. It's you and I, the voters, who determine the future.