In this economy?

Lately, I’ve been fielding questions about the meaning of my life and its proposed contours:

‘What drives you, mate?’ 

‘Where are you going, son?’

‘So, do you finally have a job?’

In an accent not quite my own, these bedevilled voices – which have the half-life of a sleepless night – plague me. Like some genuine but misplaced proctoscopy, I’m prodded till I produce a grunt: 

‘I prefer the whip, friend.’

‘Wherever you deign, Father.’ 

‘In this economy?’

The truth is, I’m the loafing yin to the productive yang, ragged ascetic to the fat archbishop, adjective to the noun. These attributes, once the exclusive qualities of venerated saints, don’t hold one in good stead nowadays; we’re a dying breed. Amidst the cacophony of self-help books, look-at-me LinkedIn posts, and pay-for-pray preachers, those merely getting by cannot be heard. 

Flirting with this economy

When faced with a coquettish dollar, kwacha savings and inflation are a force for re-evaluating one’s principles; the choice of declining from society can no longer be economically sustained (maybe that’s better – your loafing, ragged, adjective-full attire is now intentionally worn by preteens and men over 50). But, having lived so long in the shadows, you may need some advice, maybe even advice on where to find advice. Indeed, this flight may be your first attempt at an escape from your principles and towards civilisation proper (although books on colonial misadventures may provide the context for such an escape – and subsequent search – they are notoriously bad at giving advice; see pages 1 – N.A. [extant] of human history for further reading). Thus, as your allocated guardian, it’s my duty to talk you down from the ledge to soothe your fears. As anyone who has fallen for another can tell you, love starts with a bit of flirting. And maybe a bit of advice. 

A selection of advice one could receive from various individuals and institutions pertaining to romantic and economic betterment in particular and the re-admittance into civilised society in general: 

  1. Financial advisor: ring leader of the experts with little expertise; mis-careered, glorified bureaucrat who can play golf well; incorrectly calling virtually all the shots on economic meltdowns from the ‘Tulipmania’ of the 1630s to the Great Recession of 2008. 
  2. Preacher: doesn’t usually play golf, but when putting has God on his side; accepts donations in mobile money and lost souls; lost the Crusades, and then moved the battlefields to Africa. 
  3. TikTok and other social media: good practice for hours of thoughtlessness, a handy tool when conversing with most people; unbearably fun ‘content’ of preteens wearing your former attire;does not play golf, but will provide invaluable skills on how to dance in sequence in front of a camera. 
  4. In-flight magazine column writer: insufferably self-conscious (at odds with his usual bad smell); possesses neither golf skills nor God skills; will almost certainly be late, like this column (ask the editor for details).

This list is not exhaustive; indeed, it is a truism of our age that folks are more adept at giving advice than taking it. However, as key players in the aforementioned contemporary civilisation, their services should be sought out. Meetings can take place in individual or group sessions. Individual sessions allow you to test the ‘mettle’ of these experts; for example, invite your financial advisor to the golf course on the condition that she can’t speak about i) interest rates; or ii) golf, and then see where the conversation takes you (you may actually learn something). Personally, I suggest group sessions – they give colour to the different skill sets these experts possess that individual meetings just don’t do. You can collectively discuss the contents of this article over bad airport coffee or have a virtual meeting. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations: invite your preacher and in-flight magazine column writer over for a couple of beers and force them to make a TikTok dance (I suggest a dance-off set to gospel music). Why not have a little fun while you’re still feeling things out?

If these strategies do not work, then you may have to rethink your decision: maybe this economy is not meant for you.

About Author /

Sebastian can usually be found eating strawberries and cream at your nearest tennis club.

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