In his first exclusive interview, The Recession—
pale, gaunt, and poor—sat down with ai5000 for
drinks in New York City’s White Horse Tavern.
Alcoholic, Stilted Son, Maker of Misery
Double scotch. Neat. I didn’t want it to be like this. I’m sure you think I’m a monster, but the truth is
I want you to like me. When everyone’s saying all these terrible things, when every newspaper in
the country is bemoaning my existence and talking about how to get rid of me—well, don’t think
I don’t hurt a little inside. Yeah, I’d consider Alan a friend. We had dinner a few nights ago, actually.
He’s in rough shape. Sure, I don’t smell like roses, but let’s be honest: Things aren’t exactly coming up
Greenspan right now. If you want the truth, I’ve always had a tendency to lash out. Sometimes, I get
this anger inside me and it wells up and I can’t stop it. Sometimes, I take a little breather. Other
times, I destroy the global financial sector. Whatever. Hey, another double over here. Don’t skimp this
time. I know that, on some level, all this lashing out has to do with my father. I’m sure you know
this, but my father was kind of famous. The Depression—you know, the Great Depression. I always wanted
to emulate him but, the more I learned about the man, the more scornful I became. I tried so
hard to reject him, to reject his mistakes. But even as I ran from him, I found myself making his
mistakes all over again. It actually happened to my sister, too. Little Miss Dotcom Bubble. Poor girl.
Don’t print this, because my agent says I already have a severe image problem, but it’s not like
everything’s my fault. Come on, these mortgages? And the regulators? Hedge funds and banks
and rating agencies? You guys were practically begging me to get out there and have a little
fun. What do you mean this is all on the record? Ahhh [unprintable expletive]. You know what’s sick? I
enjoyed it. There, I said it. I knew I was doing something I’d regret, I knew it the whole time, but
I enjoyed it all the same. Dad was masochistic like this, too. I hate myself so much. I mean, yes, of
course I smoke, but only to stay skinny. So, I’m standing right there, he can clearly see me, and he goes
ahead anyway and buys a $1,400 garbage can for his office. Good job, John Thain. Even I’m not that
stupid. When am I going to stop doing this? How am I supposed to answer that? Look at me. Just
look at me! I’m a mess. I’m totally erratic. If I knew what I was going to do next, I wouldn’t even
be me anymore. I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough. Oh, jeez, the bill. You know, uh, this is crazy, but I’m
having a little liquidity crisis of my own right now...
Art by Jeff Smith / jeffsmith.com