Deirdre Reilly: Get into recession-speak, and you'll feel better in a jiff

Deirdre Reilly

“Recession” is still not a word the experts say a lot when dealing with the American economy. This is odd, considering you know for a fact that you’ve been eating lots more Spam lately, and have even gotten a new tire for your old Schwinn bicycle – you know the one, covered in a pile of tennis rackets and crammed between your dented trash cans and the fourteen million paint cans that you are still unsure how to dispose of. 

So, I am here as your trusted advisor to say, yes, we are definitely in economic trouble, but rest assured, there are some proactive things you can do. 

No.1 on the list is to come up with a new, hip way of talking that truly reflects our times. Here are a few suggestions for a more recession-savvy you.  Just begin using the following phrases, listed below:

1.    “I’m not hungry.”  You will need this phrase a lot, as we Americans adjust to      paring back both our budgets and our caloric intake. We’re going to need to cut back, and stop buying so much food. There are a lot of drinks, however, that really are meals: Slimfast, all types of soy shakes, and pinot grigio. If you get to reminiscing about eating solids, pour your drink out on a plate and pretend to eat it with a knife and fork, like the old days. You will see this as a trend emerging in the hippest clubs all over the country: rem-eating, or “reminiscent-eating.” There is another phrase you will need that goes along with this rem-eating, and that is: “I’m dizzy.”  Remember to eat sometimes, like birthdays and government holidays.

2.    “No thanks, I think I’ll walk.” Now this is a famous movie line – characters in the movies that need to think, feel uncomfortable, or are about to get murdered often say this line. You, however, will be saying it because you cannot afford gas. The trick to this one is pretty simple. Say you are in a group situation – a group movie outing, a church social or a business meeting. As the group emerges together from the building, see where everyone else is headed and then point in the opposite direction and say, “Oh, I’m parked over here, guys.” Then, simply hide in any group of convenient shrubs until they have gone. The tricky part of this one occurs if someone should say: “Hey, can I grab a ride with you?” If this occurs, just mention a stomach condition involving “spontaneous emissions and cramping,” or say you’d love to offer a ride, but you were just heading out to Alaska, and are they going that way? You should be fine, so get used to saying this now, as prices on gas are going up about a penny a minute.

3.    “I just love tiny ugly cars that remind me of Europe!” You are definitely going to need this phrase.  You know how Shaquille O’Neal looks in any car? That’s how you need to get used to looking in your car, as well as getting used to its goofy name – it will be called something like the HydroSport (runs on water from streams and brooks), the Flintstone (you actually peddle this one with your feet, great for neighborhood visits), and the jaunty KornCar (runs on ethanol, or corn husks, or something). To prepare for these cars, simply hunch over at the foot of your bed each night, real tight, and stay that way until in your mind you get to Hartford, or New York City, or wherever it is you would normally go in your line of work. If you feel the need to stretch, simply remember how long it’s going to take to sell your SUV, and you will naturally fall back into the fetal position.

4.    “I hate raises – they are just for snobby folks.” See how I added the word “folks” to the end of that sentence? This makes you sound and feel really down-home when you say this particular recession-busting sentence. You will need this one – your boss will take to drawing on the walls and humming and giggling after reading the stock reports, or wearing crazy hats and taking the office to lots of carnivals to distract every one of you from the fact that you haven’t gotten raises for two years now. Pretend you don’t want a raise, and soon you won’t – that’s the way nature works. Help your co-workers get good at pretending, too, maybe make a fun “We hate raises and all forms of advancement” club – you can all walk together to your meetings.

I hope this new vocabulary helps you as you meet this new world head-on. I expect to run into you soon – skinny, hunched over and hating raises – just like I taught you!

You can connect with Deirdre at