“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
  Thus spake the late great Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson could have been passing out a prescription for how to survive the Great Recession we are currently enjoying. Times are weird — face-eating chimpanzees, lawsuits over Geronimo’s skull, and zombie banks stalk the length and breadth of the Homeland. It’s time to turn pro. Oddities are oozing out of the woodwork everywhere you look. As the economy melts down, there is little relief in sight. Like the sailor who killed the albatross in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the wizards of Wall Street and the barons of big banking have killed the Ponzi scheme that was America’s financial shell game.
 We are stuck in a frozen financial system like the Ancient Mariner’s ship was driven into the Antarctic ice. Ponder what the glittering eyed Ancient Mariner said about his stranded vessel and compare it to the nightly financial news: “Water, water, everywhere/ And all the boards did shrink/Water, water, everywhere/Nor any drop to drink.” You still have your shares of stock. You still get a 401(k) statement but the shares don’t have drinkability like the Beer ad promises. Like Gershwin’s song says, “I got plenty of nothing/And nothing’s plenty for me/I got no car/got no mule/got no misery.”
  So in the midst of the Great Recession we need diversions. The weirder the better, to distract us from the troubles. The Titanic has already sunk so we can’t rearrange its deck chairs but we can admire the weirdness that is exploding across the fruited plain. Let us consider some of the more unusual events of recent history.
  We’ve all heard of the untimely end of Travis, the 200-pound chimp who lived the abundant life with his human companion Sandra Herold in New York City. Travis and Sandra were quite the item. They bathed together, drank wine together and slept in the same bed. Life was great for the Simian and the Simpleton until that fateful day when a visitor came to see Sandra. Travis went ape and attacked the visitor putting her into the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Travis was dispatched to primate posterity by the New York Police Department.
  {mosimage}How about the colorful, privileged lads of the secret Skull & Bones fraternity at Yale? The Skull and Boneheads are made up of affluent folks who went on to be presidents, senators, and wizards of Wall Street. Descendants of Geronimo recently sued the Boneheads and various government agencies alleging that the Boneheads were hiding Geronimo’s skull in their secret clubhouse in New Haven, Conn. The suit alleges that Prescott Bush stole Geronimo’s skull and some of his bones from his burial place in Fort Sill, Okla., back in 1918. Prescott Bush was the father of President George H. Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush. The Bonehead dudes are alleged to be keeping Geronimo’s skull in a glass case to use in their double secret initiation rites. Bonehead pledges are supposed to have to kiss Geronimo’s skull to join the club. How would you feel if your grandfather’s skull was being kissed by drunken frat boys? Grave robbing is frowned upon unless you’re really rich and socially well-connected. Geronimo’s descendants want their granddaddy back and buried in one piece. It will be interesting to see if the Boneheads plead adverse possession of Geronimo’s skull in an effort to keep it for future fraternity frolics.
  In keeping with the spirit of zombie banks, consider a recent literary offering: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been revised and updated. Her book has been rewritten with the same characters but to spice things up, zombies have been added to the plot. The new book is now titled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The publisher proudly announced the new book has “all new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.” I choke up when I think how far America is ahead of the rest of the world in utilizing our greatest underutilized resource, the undead. Global warming can be cured by the low carbon footprint of zombies.
  If we can recycle zombies into classic works of literature, it is only a matter of time before the Great Recession joins the undead. Joy will reign once again in Mudville when the Great Recession strikes out.

Contact Pitt Dickey at editor@upandcomingweekly.com

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