April 4, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Sobering Up

Three months ago, I found hope for the new year—or, at least I found Hope, New Mexico, on New Year's Eve. Taking it as an omen for the coming year, I felt hopeful that 2003 would be a better year than previous ones. Though such a prognostication has been obstructed by a war, a mystery illness and a still-sagging economy (not to mention other, more personal factors), there's time yet for things to turn around this year. More interestingly, I believe that although we may see more stability later this year, our country will look different. When the economy stabilizes, we won't find ourselves back in the bubbles-and-bubbly days of the 1990s. The country was drunk on dot-com, but after the bottle ran dry and the buzzkill of 9/11 busted the door down, the party was over for good. Now, thankfully, we are a sober nation. We may drink a shot of Nasdaq here, a glass of IPO there, but we won't go on any Enron-Worldcom binges. We may not see the Dow hit 20,000, but we won't see pink elephants either.

Like so many of its citizens, America has taken a beating over the past two years, and has learned and grown from it. We as a nation have become more prudent and cautious, appreciating what we have and making more realistic choices about our future. Would I have wished the events of the past two or three years on us? Probably not. Have such trials effected a change for the better? Perhaps it's too early to say, but I believe so.

I heard a parable a long time ago about a young male lion sitting on a hill with the leader of the pride, a magnificently maned older lion. As they surveyed all of the lionesses lying in the sun below, the eager young male wanted to bound down lickety split and make mad love to the first lioness he found. The older lion cautioned him to curb his lust. If we rush headlong down there, he counseled, we can have our way with one of them. If we take our time, we can have them all.

The point is simple; in fact, it can be summed up in a much more pithy adage: "Live fast, die young." It may be glamorous to live the days of wine and roses of 1999, but such parties end all too soon. Every binge is followed by a hangover. If we move slow, take our time like that wise old lion, we can have it all. I think that's where we're heading. We've learned our hard lessons, we've learned that what goes up must come down. Now it's time for a more measured, more sober approach. At least, that's my gut belief.

Then again, I'm not a financial professional, just a writer who's trying to fill some space. Only time will tell if I came upon a significant turning point last December 31 or just got lost on some back road of New Mexico.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

Today's Column
Send a Comment


4/3: Great White Hope
4/2: Entropy
4/1: Peace on Earth
Previous months in The Archive

Like what you've read?
Find more good reading on

In Association with Amazon.com

(and support future Daily Stricks!)