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If you ask most people how they feel about waiting – for anything – they will tell you that they hate it. Almost everyone I know has some kind of waiting horror story that takes place in every possible venue, from a doctor's office or a restaurant to the DMV. I have observed that the people who are most passionate about hating to wait can generally be assigned to one of two categories; they are either the kind of people who hate to sit still and get easily bored, or the really Type A personalities who never stop and are resentful of anyone or anything that they think is getting in the way of their rampant productivity or blocking their path to achieving some goal. Both these kind of people find waiting intolerable and the frantic pace of modern life gives them every expectation of not having to to it – ever.
I have observed that all kinds of waiting rooms now have flat screen televisions mounted on the walls or suspended from the ceilings, I assume, for the purpose of soothing the savage impatient beast within us all. In most places the TV is tuned to some station that the business believes will be attractive to their particular clientèle. In the bank there is a huge TV behind the tellers that shows one of the seemingly endless news channels where a digital stock market ticker tape runs merrily along at the bottom of the screen. The philosophy, I guess, is that if you are standing in a bank making a deposit or checking on your Christmas Club you are probably deeply interested in what is happening in the stock market minute to minute, since the current activity of shares of Acme Widgets is vital to what might happen to the $200 in your Christmas Club. Frankly, I think that this is a myth perpetrated by financial institutions and investment banks who want you to believe that they are the most important factor in the universe in deciding your fate. I took two economics courses in college because I had to for a requirement, and despite the fact that I detested every second spent in those classes, I paid attention and was able to discern, from the most basic information, that the stock market is a circus and the people who live and die by it are a bunch of greedy, corrupt clowns. P. T. Barnum once said that there is a sucker born every minute and he was probably right. The financial world is definitely the greatest show on earth.
I find it amusing to listen to the financial and business news on the radio when they have on analysts who drone on interminably about why the stock market is doing whatever bizarre thing it happens to be doing that day. They are all guessing most of the time, of course, which the honest ones will admit when pressed. What gets me is the weird things they like to use as explanations for some sudden drop or rise in activity in the market. If a freak storm destroys all the pineapple crops in Hawaii, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it will probably have a serious effect on the future of pineapples. However, when analysts start blaming the fluctuations in the market on things like the President having the flu or Elvis dying or some foreign potentate in some little country being thrown over for some new foreign potentate, it requires too much suspension of belief for my poor little brain. To me, its the same as some old guy telling you after the fact that he knew there was going to be a storm because his bunions were throbbing. Really?
The problem is that financial types are pretty much able to do whatever they want and hide behind a lot of language and explanations that most people don't understand with the absolute confidence that everyone will ignore the man behind the curtain, so they have the advantage of making decisions about the price and availability of pineapples based on what they think might happen to pineapples in the future, even though they are not particularly specific about when that future will be or why it will happen. As far as I'm concerned, they are no different than some priest in ancient Rome standing in the Temple of Jupiter slaughtering chickens and reading their livers for the purpose of deciding policy. Especially since the priest, who was the only one who had the power and ability to actually decipher messages in a chicken liver, was usually either blackmailed or paid off to translate the livers according to the desires of the blackmailer or payee, or had his own agenda. Sometimes I feel as if the economic fate of the world is in the hands of guys doing whatever they want or what someone more powerful wants, based upon the state of the liver of some poor, dead chicken. There probably aren't any actual chicken livers involved in the process, but there might as well be.
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