March 20, 2009
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
There was a time when almost every science fiction film featured a scene where the spacemen landed and said, "Take me to your leader."
As a child, this made perfect sense to me, since the only real leader that I was aware of was the president of the United States. In those days, it did not seem strange that aliens traveled across the galaxy in a ship that looked as if it were made by a fairly clever junior-high student on his kitchen table. I was quite convinced that pie pans and Elmer''s glue could withstand the rigors of interplanetary travel.
As I became older and more skeptical, the term "leader" began to confuse me. Why did the visitors from so very far think that earth was one place with one person in charge? I soon understood that this planet is a complicated jumble of kingdoms and democracies and divisions of every sort. There is no common language (does anyone even speak Esperanto?), religion or moral code. This, of course, led to questions about why those ships wobbled as if they were dangling from fishing twine.
Even in our small part of the world, we have a mayor, city council, board of supervisors, governor -- the list seems endless. The path to president and beyond is a very long road. I suppose it is a good thing that those extraterrestrial explorers never really showed up, demanding to be taken to a leader. No one would know where to guide them.
However, I am noticing something very strange in the news, these days. It appears that the terrifying meltdown of our economy is a global issue. The problems, and even the solutions, are everyone''s. We may not all agree on the possibility of life on other planets, but citizens of every country understand our shrinking wealth.
Monetary panic has allied leaders in a way that threats from an invasion most foreign could not. It appears that the people of Earth really can work together, if the reason is strong enough.
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, says we will be out of the "crisis" by the end of this year. Keep your fingers crossed.
In the meantime, magazines, TV shows and Internet sites are filled with ideas to make more money. Keep reading, as well.
One common suggestion is to sell your stuff. Yard sales require a bit of planning and little else. EBay is a favorite for the computer literate. At Santa Fe Restaurant, I found a peanut that looked exactly like a duck. I tried to convince Chris to list it for me, but he refused. Some people just do not understand value. It would have been much better if it looked like Jesus or his mother, but still, a fowl should appeal to someone.
The MSN Web site suggests that we "get a job." Duh. Many of us have more than one. We are tired to be sure, but in some ways lucky. You can read the "help wanted" ads, but prepare to be very disappointed. There is almost nothing out there.
A popular idea is to sell your knowledge. Maybe you could teach art, or music, or poker-playing. Well, if money is so very tight, how then can anyone afford to pay for lessons? This only makes sense to the people who write those articles.
On second thought, perhaps poker is not a bad idea. Even a few illegally-gotten gains would be welcome now.
As far as I know, those old-movie aliens have not arrived. But, if they do, they may be blissfully surprised to see that earthlings are working well together. Until "happy days are here again," keep reading such things as the small print on coupons, your bank statement, lists of job opportunities, etc. But, try to avoid all the articles about surviving the financial meltdown. They are only good for a small chuckle.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. E-mail reaches her at [email protected]
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.