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July 10, 2000—Just Do Nothing

Twenty or thirty years ago we saw a play on Broadway about hospices.  One chap, who was dying, stepped forward to give a touching soliloquy.  He explained how he got to know his buddy and roommate.  "You see, I got interested in what he was doing.  Which, it turns out, was nothing.  But he was doing it so well!"

We used to do nothing in July.  And more emphatically we did nothing during the dog days of August.  Even new York's psychiatrists put aside their lucrative practices in August, clustering instead in eateries at the end of Long Island.

But now we are too busy.  Ironically, the avant garde among us are relearning how to do nothing.  La dolce far niente.  The Nike proposition is in trouble, as we figure out how not to do it.

In this week's addition to the Global Province, we talk about kids 15 to 21 who visit a meditation center to chill out.  Tom Canning, our global laureate, talks about the loss of his martini lunch in "Pensioner's Lament," but, drawing on the genius of his Irish ancestors, continues to use his comic pen to burst the balloons of headhunters and other corporate appartchik, who are much ado about nothing.

Our dictum this week about strong egos playing a zero sum game instructs us to check our vanities at the door and relax in the comradeship of our intellectual equals.

The arguments for sitting back in our chairs are many.  We ourselves are impressed with the idea that when you are doping less, you may see more.  For instance, a recent poll on the economy in The Wall Street Journal caught 90% of the professional economists surveyed with their pants down.  Virtually everybody badly missed the inflation number, coming in below the 3.1% increase in the CPI for the 12 months ending in May.  A few more--we think--would have seen the prices at the gas pump and the insidious housing prices in Silicon Valley if they had gotten beyond their digits and their boxes.  Increasingly, we must transcend the digitized economy.

To follow our own proposition to relax, we will take a couple of weeks off.  You should see our next postings on the week of July 24th.

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