Apr 142009
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

With the economy collapsing around us and the end of all life one Dow Jones-quake away, it’s important to keep our wits about us and remember, whatever your political affiliation, that the other guy did it. And he did it because he hates children.

This is what the news tells me, and you can always trust the news because it is staffed by experts. Experts are people who, from my observation, have two very important qualities — fear and anger. Understanding the complicated basis for our economy does not an expert make — it’s all about the fear rage.

Now that I’ve established my credentials, I’m going to explain, as simply as possible, why tuition is going up, why you can’t find a job and why housing values are quickly matching the cost of firewood. It’s because our money is not cool right now.

Money is a fabricated concept. If you don’t follow this, first of all, shame on you. Secondly, don’t feel bad — here’s an experiment to help you out. Tear out my article, write the words “a jillion dollars” on it, and see if the economy gets better. Didn’t work, did it? But when the government does that, except with nicer papers and inks, it may very well work. We hope.

So to recap — money isn’t real, and it certainly isn’t cool. How did this affect tuition, though, which affects our very real access to Ramen and fast food? It all goes back to pogs.

Pogs, a game involving colorful pieces of cheap cardboard, was cool in the 90s. If you weren’t alive in the 90s, you probably don’t remember how cool it was to knock those little cardboard discs around, treasuring each and every victory and the resulting rise in self worth. But suddenly, something tragic happened — pogs weren’t cool any more!

To those of us that had all our self worth invested in pogs, this made no sense. They were cool a few days ago. What happened?

Pretty much nothing is what happened. A fad died.

Somewhere, some Patient Zero child woke up one morning, looked at the cardboard circles littering his room, and said, “Nuts to this. I’m getting into Pokémon.” Soon, all around the nation, a magic yellow rat monster and his abusive owner were all the rage, leaving those of us with vast collections of pogs we were scrambling to unload before the market tanked. Hint — pogs make the most uncomfortable beanbag chairs known to man.

Our money spontaneously stopped being cool in September of 2008.

Somewhere, somehow, a Patient Zero woke up and went, “Hey! We’re selling lies and painted cardboard! Does anyone else know we’re selling lies and cardboard?” Everyone else tried to shush him up, but it was too late — our money was not cool anymore, and the market began to globally spiral into the deadly disco zone of totally-not-coolness.

The question is not, “How can we get our groove back?” or “Can we perhaps base our economic foundation on something more stable than the whims of a child?” The question is, “Where can I put my fear rage?”

Thankfully, dear readers, I have the answer. We must find, and kill, Pikachu. Little rat has it coming. Plus I’m pretty sure he’s a supporter of that political party you hate.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior undeclared major with a physical and mathematical sciences interest. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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