Economic Hardships (part II)

8 July, 2009

Wall Street.  The Film Industry.  The Auto Industry.  Manufacturing.  Retail Sales.  

Declining, destroyed, suffering, beleaguered sectors of the commercial American dream.  Surely, the depressed financial state is affecting everyone.

Walking around my neighborhood offers a sight that speaks to another lagging industry, and I realize:

This recession must surely be affecting condom sales; either that, or COBRA doesn’t cover birth control.

It is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with for why there are so many pregnant women.  On any given day, on any given block, signs of the Obama Baby Boom (Oba-bies, of course) are everywhere – bellies about to burst, pink, wrinkled newborn faces snuggly slung in a designer sling, nestled close to their gleaming mothers.  How terribly sad to not be able to afford condoms.  

I like children, I like babies, and hope to have one or some someday.  But recently, it’s begun to feel like an infestation – granted, a cute one.  Working in the bakery brings them out as well (I believe we’re a popular post-Lamaze class spot) – as harried husbands ask for as many Red Velvet cupcakes as they can hold while their wives ask for Whoopie Pies to be deposited directly into their mouths.  This is not a problem – until the communities of pregnant women, occasionally laden with another small child, join together and the place begins to feel like the La Leche League Headquarters, with buzz words like “episiotomy” and “placenta preservation” being as casually thrown about as baseball scores.

What’s interesting to me, and makes this an economically relevant blog, is that I’ve begun to see this Family Planning (planning for a family, that is) as a sign of Economic Stability – a showing-off of sorts that, even though times are tough, we’ve got enough to bring this new soul in to the world, and care for it for the next 18 years.  I don’t doubt that I’m seeing the world this way because lately I’ve been forced to budget the 50¢/day for cat food out from my daily tips, and spending any more on another creature these days seems downright absurd to me.  

Maybe this is just a latent jealousy – of romantic and financial solidity.  Maybe it’s just more fun to posit this jealousy as an Economic Recession Indicator, and thus pass it off as social commentary.  Maybe Trojan will be forced to consider a whole different kind of stimulus package…

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