adBlockCheck

How We Made It Through The Great Recession

Top Headlines

Recent News

Poll: 89% Of Debate Viewers Tuning In Solely To See Whether Roof Collapses

HEMPSTEAD, NY—Explaining that the American people showed relatively little interest in learning more about the nominees’ economic, counterterrorism, or immigration policies, a new Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 89 percent of viewers were tuning into Monday night’s presidential debate solely to see whether the roof collapses on the two candidates.

New Study Finds Solving Every Single Personal Problem Reduces Anxiety

SEATTLE—Explaining that participants left the clinical trial feeling calmer and more positive, a study published Monday by psychologists at the University of Washington has determined that people can significantly reduce their anxiety by solving every single one of their personal problems.

Trump Planning To Throw Lie About Immigrant Crime Rate Out There Early In Debate To Gauge How Much He Can Get Away With

HEMPSTEAD, NY—Saying he would probably introduce the falsehood in his opening statement or perhaps during his response to the night’s first question, Republican nominee Donald Trump reported Monday he was planning to throw out a blatant lie about the level of crime committed by immigrants early in the first presidential debate to gauge how much he’d be allowed to get away with.

Rest Of Nation To Penn State: ‘Something Is Very Wrong With All Of You’

WASHINGTON—Stating they felt deeply unnerved by the community’s unwavering and impassioned defense of a football program and administration that enabled child sexual abuse over the course of several decades, the rest of the country informed Penn State University Friday that there is clearly something very wrong with all of them.

Strongside/Weakside: Lamar Jackson

After passing for eight touchdowns and rushing for another 10 in just the first three weeks of the season, Louisville Cardinals sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has quickly become the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. Is he any good?

Obesity: Myth Vs. Fact

With as many as one in three people in the U.S. qualifying as obese, misconceptions are often formed about what it means to be significantly overweight. The Onion separates obesity myths from facts
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

How We Made It Through The Great Recession

The year was 1987, a time I'll never forget. The country was in the grips of the Great Recession, the worst economic crisis my generation had ever known. In October of that year, the bottom fell out of the market, tumbling a record 508 points in a single day. Back then I was green as hell, working with discretionary accounts at Tanner & Reamish with little more to show for myself than an office overlooking Wall Street and a few hundred thou in convertible securities. But I found out real quick what life was like back in '87.

People were doing anything they could to get by. I saw grown men working blue-collar construction jobs, just to feed their families. I saw people buying used cars. In New York City, people were selling pretzels on the street for a buck-fifty, a buck—anything they could get. It was horrible.

I still vividly recall October 19 of that year, the day ever to be remembered as Black Monday. A black day indeed. That was the day the market plummeted those 508 points. The bull market had turned on us, and everything seemed to dispute the invincibility of my colleagues and myself. That was too much for any of us to bear. Many a good broker was sent right over the edge. How was I going to make it through? What about the wife, the kids, the money market funds? Thank God I had 550 shares of gilt-edged stock in a blue chip tucked away for a rainy day.

Things were hard at home. When we reached the third week of the recession, we knew we were in for a long haul, maybe months of hardship. We faced the choice of either giving up the lease on the golf course or nixing my teenage daughter's plans for summer weight-loss camp in France—a decision no one should ever have to face. We'd already stopped getting the pool cleaned altogether. What more could we do?

It was during the Recession of '87 that I found out what hunger really was. When times got tough I gave up my daily lunch at Geraldine's and started to order food in. I would eat anything just to cut the hunger—sweet-and-sour pork that came in the strangest little white and red boxes, Greek salads that came with plastic forks and paper napkins. Even "sandwiches," like the ones my nanny made me as a child.

The delivery boys were sometimes as much as 45 minutes late. Once I waited over an hour for lunch. But you know what? I still tipped that little delivery guy. I remember saying as I flipped him a shiny 50-cent piece, "We'll all learn a lesson from this adversity. Chin up!" There was an unreadable look of pain on his face as he put the money in his uniform pocket and loaded his heavy, insulated pack onto his shoulder.

That's what was beautiful about the Recession—people banded together. Even though you were barely making it, you helped out someone who might have less than you. If you heard about a high premium or a new tax shelter, if it didn't affect your own convertible securities you'd give that information to anyone who needed it.

During the fourth week, though, when the fear began to set in, I had to let the chauffeur and the gardener go at the house. They'd been with us for 11 years, but necessity forced us to replace them with temp-agency workers. It was terribly hard for me to tell Darryl and Ramon to pack their bags, but like I said, those were hard times. I did things that were hard.

Those of us who struggled through the Recession are often portrayed today as "stingy" or "tight-fisted." Jokes are made about how we're still obsessed. Hogwash! Young people today don't understand the meaning of the word poor, the word fear, the word fiduciary. If they did, they'd take my advice and disperse their investments in Keough plans and zero-coupon bonds and they'd oppose those new-fangled '90s ideas like capital gains taxes, AFDC and Medicare. They'd also make sure they had enough suits to go three months without dry cleaning, because when times are tight, every dollar counts.

WATCH VIDEO FROM THE ONION

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close