Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I am bereft. I am just so sad.

I realize this may sound a bit odd, but the first real job I ever had in New York (you know, the old 9 to 5 routine) was Lehman Brothers, where I worked for many happy years with a wonderful, wonderful boss who was also a friend. I am just terribly sorry about this whole thing.

For those of my readers who may not have been alive (for God's sake) back in the early 70's, Wall Street was a miraculous place to work. We damn near killed ourselves (70 and 80 hour weeks were not in the least unusual), but we were paid enormous amounts of money and enormous bonuses, and oh, my God, we had fun. Yes, and I was a secretary. Even we had fun.

It seems to me that there was a LOT more teamwork and a lot less of the gulf between boss and secretary back then. My boss and I became the best of friends (still talk to each other on occasion). Neither of us were dating anybody for any length of time back then (mainly because nobody else would put up with those insane hours we worked), so we'd often go out to dinner after work (this would usually be around 10 or 11 at night) or have a couple of drinks.

And it was nuts. I mean, NUTS. You couldn't walk out at lunch without somebody trying to sell you dope. All the associates kept stashes in their desk drawers. People were calmly smoking joints in the street.

And money. Oh, my God, the money. My boss and I worked on a deal (still famous in Wall Street circles, if there are any left) which kept us in the office for 23 straight days, none of them less than 15 hours long - and those were the weekends. There were a lot of days when we'd get to our respective homes in time to shower and turn around and get back to the office. (And no, before you ask, we were nothing more than good pals. So there.)

One night, we got sick and tired of the whole thing - which included basically cold cheeseburgers and fries for dinner every night because back then, there were no people on Wall Street after 6 pm, therefore no restaurants. There was this one deli, from which (out of necessity) we ordered every night. There were also no microwaves in offices then - actually, there weren't any microwaves. So my boss, said, more or less, the hell with this shit. And ordered us dinner. From THE PALM. Yup. You heard me. The Palm. A steak dinner from The Palm to be delivered to Wall Street at 10 at night.

It was AMAZING. A white coated waiter turned up with these dishes under silvery domes...steak and potatoes and salad and vegetables...all of it HOT...and he actually stayed around and SERVED THE DAMN MEAL. It must have cost a good $300 - in 1973 money, children. And do you know, the expense report passed right through without a murmur? Can you honestly imagine any office these days calmly passing through an item marked "Dinner for self and secretary - $700"? (Which I think it would be in today's terms.)

Oh, poor Lehman. I did love it.

And I am thrilled to the very core of my being about Sarah Palin. I think she is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Should you think that I have completely lost my mind, let me start by saying that I think sliced bread that you could buy in stores was a terrible idea, because it led to Wonder Bread, which isn't bread but a substance invented to make breadballs with at lunch at camp.

McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as VP has turned this election into Ringling Brothers' Greatest Show on Earth. Now, we already had an historic election - the first black Presidential candidate - to be precise, the first mulatto Presidential candidate - but now we've got the first Vice-Presidential candidate since about 1823 who can shoot and dress her own moose! You have to admit, this is clearly the sort of expertise we need in a Vice President. Now, see, if Cheney had known how to skin and gut that guy he shot, he could have had a decent meal out of it. Such a wimp.

No, really, this has to be a joke. I realize that McCain had terrible experiences as a POW, but I hadn't realized that they had turned his brain to this extent. I mean, I never thought he was all that tightly wrapped, but I think that way about anybody who favors idiotic wars. But this choice is simply - well - NUTS. I cannot think of anyone more likely to alienate people than this fundamentalist, moose shooting broad with no - repeat NO - experience on any kind of large scale - and who, if you'll pardon a descent into the personal - has one of the scariest fixed grins I've seen since I met Nancy Reagan during the Reagans' first campaign.

Unfortunately, to be serious, we tend to forget that we in New York (and in the wider intellectual community) are, unfortunately, in the minority. If anyone remembers the Saul Steinberg New Yorker cover of many years back, showing New York absolutely enormous with the rest of the country all squeezed into a tiny little space...sadly, it's the other way around. Snug in our knowledge of our own superiority, we forget that there is a LOT of America out there, and very few of us in our little insular charmed circle. There are lots and lots and LOTS of people who think that Sarah Palin represents exactly what they think. And that John McCain is a war hero and that war is good and that all boys should go to fight and die and be made into men...dead and/or maimed men, but men.

Mah fellow Amurricans - no, sorry, I mean, my fellow anti-war, pro-choice, human rights loving people - let's keep fighting the good fight!

And if we can't, can somebody please look up some decent moose recipes for me?

Love, Wendy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I knew it...I knew that if I searched and waited long enough, I'd find an "ordinary" (and i mean that in the nicest way) US citizen with some form of intelligence.
Lehman Bros is sad but they were always cowboys, history repeating itself really. Merryl was a surprise but the whole investment banking industry is going south. Its a pity as I'd hoped to do my stint in New York with one of the big guys - Goldman's and MS might not be around for long either (in their current form anyway) It will be an interesting couple of months.
As for Palin - you yanks are NUTS!

A guy from Oz