July 10, 2000—Just
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
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
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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