Jeff Vrabel: We all miss the halcyon days that were the 1950s

Jeff Vrabel

Hope you all enjoyed your Easter break, everybody! Now please return to your normal lives, where all is consumed by a black-lunged and unfettered misery.

Like what I imagine to be many of you, I regarded last week's Washington Post poll that found that 26 percent of American citizenry is "angry" and thinks the country is on the wrong track with one single thought: What the hell is wrong with the other 74 percent of you?

Because despite the onset of spring, the arrival of baseball season, the debut of that show where Sarah Palin sexily introduces years-old interviews with formerly important musicians and only like a few more episodes until "Lost" reveals what will almost certainly be its shockingly disappointing finale, things have simply never been more rustingly, probingly, zombie-movie awful than they are right this very second. Actually, now. OK, now. No, I mean, now.

Because we are on the wrong track, speeding chaotically down the Express Line to Doom, through the station at Northeast Communism, helmed by Engineer Spendypants, past Tortville and Illegalimmigrationburg and sorry, my kid is obsessed with trains and it is literally a daily struggle to think of in non-train metaphors anymore. Chugga.

This is particularly your take if you oppose the new health care law, which, for some of you, means your country was last month passed directly to winged she-beasts, Ivan Drago and a handful of balrogs, who are now massing to come crumble your houses, enshackle your children, expire your perishables, toss you and your Wookiee into the Sarlacc Pit and make your toothpaste taste weird. For timely insight into this lively mindset, let us turn to Hugh Pearson, a 63-year-old retired builder from California, who grew up in the '50s. "I grew up in the '50s," said Pearson, redundantly. "That was a wonderful time. Nobody was getting rich, nobody was doing everything big. But it was 'Ozzie and Harriet' days, 'Leave It to Beaver'-type stuff. Now we have all this MTV, expose-yourself stuff, and we have no morality left, not even by the legislators."

This crazy old man is right: Everything was better in the '50s, where the music was chaste and nonsexual and concerned little more than clock-rocking-around, where the legislators were so ethically pure that they could walk to their House Un-American Committee meetings on the same sidewalks as regular citizens, where rhythmic hip rotation was tightly regulated by the government and where the lines for the water fountains were like half as long as they are now.

Chris Lionette agreed; a 43-year-old New Jersey employee relations worker, he thinks the health care bill was passed for "political reasons" that mucked up the country's general awesomeness. "There are other issues facing this country we need to be addressing," he said, such as hashing out this Charlie Sheen thing, prettying up the highway medians and, oh this is weird, illegal immigration.

Lest you think that the anger is centered on a non-representative sample, let me assure that of the people responding to the Post poll that they were "angry," only 73 percent were conservative and just 94 percent were white.

But take solace, Caucasians, there is hope! Despite the scholarly sociopolitical observations of former builders named Hugh and their sudden awareness of cable channels that debuted in 1981, things will be just fine, assuming you quickly become a top hedge-fund manager, an extremely important position that involves the untrackable reshuffling of untold gobstoppers of cash. It was reported last week that the top 25 chief executives of the planet's top funds doubled their earnings from 2008, pulling in a total of $25.33 billion dollars, although, when you average that out, it comes to a paltry $1 billion per elderly white dude.

How did they pull this off, you might be asking, in between writing a thoughtful note on your congratulatory Hoops and Yoyo e-card? Well, these masters of the financial sector invented the idea of making sockfuls of money by betting on the financial sector! See, I bet you feel dumb for asking now.

"We bet on the country's revival," said Appaloosa Management chief David Tepper. "Those who keep their heads while others are panicking usually do well," he added, noting that with just a little practice, concentration and Thievery Corporation music, it's easy to avoid panicking while glancing over your $30,000 credit card bill and a quarter-page of job listings.

Tepper made a colon-cleansing $4 billion last year, which was a new record, which means someone's gonna have to clear some space in the trophy case. American financier George Soros came in second with a relatively flimsy $3.3 billion, followed by James Simmons of the expertly named Renaissance Technologies with $2.5 billion. The last loser on the top 25 list is barely eking by with an inexplicably pitiful $350 million; if you see him stocking up on corn tortillas at the Price Chopper, don't stare.

Yes, this all may sounds ridiculous, but just imagine if these guys lived in the '50s, when nobody was getting rich. All they'd be doing is sitting around waiting for "Ozzie and Harriet" to come on, with nothing to comfort themselves but the warm, plush knowledge that everything was much, much better before it was ruined by other people.

Jeff Vrabel is off to do some MTV expose-yourself stuff; he can be reached upon his return at or