Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ewe-doo Economics

If you're too young to get the reference to Voodoo Economics, you'll just have to Google it--the first President Bush (maybe the ONLY President Bush) said it about Ronald Reagan's economic plan. Don't you just hate it when you have to explain a joke?

Oh, well....yesterday I was listening to NPR on the way home, either All Things Considered or Marketplace--I can't remember. I love NPR for the same reasons I love The New Yorker magazine--it always gets me thinking about something I wouldn't have thought about otherwise.

Anyway, yesterday there was a commentary by an economist from The Wharton School of Business or some such place. He sounded Scottish or British so, of course, more learned. What is it about the accent? Have you ever gotten up really early and caught the infomercials for gadgets that will slice and dice everything in your kitchen, including the cat? Almost invariably the "host" hanging out in that fake kitchen has an accent from one of the British colonies--Australia or Scotland or maybe just Soho for all I know. Anyway, for some reason buyers must perk up their ears and take out their checkbooks for that accent or they wouldn't be used so often.

(To diverge completely from the point, this morning I caught two infomercials that deviate from the rule above. First, Ron Popeil is back. Yes, I know--for some of you he never left. For others of us, we hoped he'd disappeared into the ozone of one of his food hydrators. Remember Ron? He brought us the original thingy that chopped and sliced and diced vegetables--was it the Veg-O-Matic? And he was responsible for the Pocket Fisherman as well as that spray-on hair product. Well, as my hair continues to thin with age and menopause, I'm not laughing quite so hard at that hair stuff anymore. But I'm not buying a Pocket Fisherman. He's also the person who first brought us, "But wait! There's more!"
And, by the way, Ron's hair looks very dark and full for an oldish-kind of guy--I'm not sayin' he's spraying it with anything but ....

Anyway, this infomercial is for some kind of knife that will cut anything from a tomato to a Humvee's bumper, and it also stars his two daughters and his cousin. His daughters are limited to saying things like "my dad also wants you to see this!" But the cousin is one of those guys you only see on the boardwalk at Ocean City playing three card monte or selling genuine cubic zirconia rings. It's worth seeing just for the laughs.

Did you forget about the "inside the egg electric egg scrambler"? That was his idea, too. Don't have one? Maybe you can find one on eBay.

And the second surprise of the morning was Vicky Lawrence flogging some type of George Foreman Grill wannabe. First off, she looks old, with a capital OLD. (Well, I do too, but I'm not hanging out on TV begging you to buy a grill from me.) Her hair is bright red, her waist is lumpy under that apron, and she looks like she wishes she'd saved some of those residual checks from the old TV shows instead of gambling them away in Vegas. You can skip this one--she cooks a couple of chicken breasts that emerge looking like something they'd autopsy on CSI, only less moist.)

Back to the point, if there ever was one. This economist was talking about the fact that he's a runner and he's training for a marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in my old neck of the woods to be exact. And he was talking about one of the principal* laws of economics (you did remember I said he was an economics professor, right?) which is Opportunity Cost.

Now if I remember my economics classes from college, the opportunity cost of something is what you give up to do that thing--the non-monetary value of an activity. In his case, he was talking about running and training for the marathon and what he has to give up to do those things--in his case, time with his family, time for a hobby, time to take on another teaching assignment and make some extra money, etc.

But here's where the Ewe-doo Economics comes in. I related immediately to what he was saying because there I was, driving home in Atlanta's rush-hour traffic, missing the opportunity to do what is really important--KNIT. And I was coming from work, where I'd missed the opportunity to KNIT. And I was going home to have a nice dinner with the semi-spouse where I would have to conversate (to use the current non-word for "talk to someone") and eat dinner--okay, maybe I could squeeze some knitting into that part of the day if I could use a set of DPNs as chopsticks--and then sit down with the bills and, again, NO KNITTING. Then bedtime and--you guessed it--NO KNITTING.

Now do you see why I was watching infomercials at 4 am? It's so I could have a few minutes to myself with my knitting!
*No, it's not spelled wrong. I said "principal" law, not to be confused with a "principle." In this case, remember "the principal is your pal." -- signed, your friend, the knitting grammarian.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.