Bruce Watson: Words from Wanda, soothsayer, on your future
Soothsayer: Beware the Ides of March.
Caesar: What man is that?
Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the Ides of March.
With the ides of March upon us, it’s time to Ask the Soothsayer. My local soothsayer, Wanda, has been saying sooth since the early Reagan era. She’s nearing retirement now and hip-deep in HMO appeals, but given these dire times, I convinced her to take your questions.
I just shoveled all my money into the stock market. Every last dime! Hey, how can I go wrong? Dow Jones at record highs! U.S. economy roaring! Happiness and harmony everywhere! But last night, at 3 a.m., I couldn’t sleep. Could I be missing some Leading Economic Indicators?
— All In in Athol
Dear All In:
What goes up must come down! Buy low, sell high! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Eat more kale! If these warnings aren’t enough, rush to the nearest screen and Google “sequester.” If you still feel upbeat, move to Detroit. Write me next Ides of March and let me know how that’s workin’ out for ya.
Last year about this time I heard the world was going to end in 2012. The Mayan calendar said so and those Mayans were regular Einsteins. So I sold my house and car, divorced my lovely wife, quit my job, said “so long” to my adorable kids — the usual. Last Dec. 21, I took a bus to a remote spit of land at the far edge of the continent and waited. So my question is, what now?
— P.O.-ed in P’Town
I know some great restaurants in your part of the country. Maybe you can get a job washing dishes and, in your spare time, get a clue.
So how does it feel? How do you sleep at night? And just where do you get off, sister, being the living embodiment of the Voice of Doom? I mean, who do you think you are, telling everyone the end is near? Eh? And I have one final question. Are there any decent jobs in your profession?
— Laid off in Leverett
Dear Laid Off:
Except for the occasional rude letter, I feel fine and sleep well because I am performing an important public service. Americans are a happy, jovial, bright-eyed bunch. Or at least they were when I got into this line of work. Morning in America! I’m OK, You’re OK! Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Meanwhile, we’re wolfing down the world’s resources, spending our kids’ inheritance and raining death down on remote villages. I say we need a wake-up call, and it’s been my pleasure to say “sooth.” As for jobs, no one listens to me and I make minimum wage, so maybe you should seek employment in a more upbeat industry — hedge fund management, say, or bikini waxing.
I’m frantic. Everywhere I turn, I see the end approaching. Violence and drugs and bullies and Congress and meteors and Kardashians and where does it all end? BTW, I am 7 years old. Am I too young to give up hope?
— Frantic in Framingham
Yes, you are far too young to give up hope. Despair should not set in until at least puberty. After that, it’s the default mode, so what can you do. That’s why, although I’m a big hit at anniversaries, I rarely do kids’ birthday parties. Listen, Frantic. Listen good. Somewhere the sun is shining. Somewhere birds are singing. Somewhere your congressman is — well, never mind. Your despair is common today and it is striking younger and younger children. Your whole lost generation is addicted to sooth. My advice: Blow up all your screens and portable laptop devices. And eat more kale.
If she wins her HMO appeals, the Soothsayer will be back next Ides of March. So start storing up your questions! And be careful out there, Caesar.
Bruce Watson’s column appears twice a month. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.