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Irrational Exuberance

by sandy feet

Irrational (adj): Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment
Exuberance (n): joyful enthusiasm.

How many times have we heard this term used over the past year or two? Usually stated by a talking head with just the slightest hint of a sneer. ("Silly, inattentive fools will bring doom down upon us all. I, on the other hand, am far too sagacious to exuberate.")

Irrational Exuberance. I love the term, the way it slides in over and under the teeth, burbles up the lips -- then ends in a hiss. What is the opposite of irrational exuberance, I wonder... rational dread?

Irrational exuberance. Is there any other kind? It would be entirely reasonable to spend your days thinking thusly: I will have to work and pay taxes forever. I will have to watch friends and loved ones grow old and die. Then I, too, will cease to exist. Possibly after a long, drawn-out and excessively maudlin death scene. End of story.

Now there's some rational dread for you.

I say, give me irrational exuberance any day. Sure, I bought high but I'll be damned if I'll sell low... my daddy taught me better than that. The project will be completed on time and under budget. My ship will come in, the Nasdaq will come back, and my days of cigarettes, whiskey, and wild wild men will never catch up to me...

More signs that I am a hopelessly irrational exuberant: I continue to place dead middle in the sand sculpture contests I am entering, but still I keep piling up the sand, carving it down. Piling it up. Carving it down. Irrational exuberance put that happy new key lime green Macintosh iBook SE in my lap (exuberance made manifest!) and gave me a title for my most recent competitive sand sculpture.

I am currently pursuing the ownership of a non-virtual domain (preferably a beach house but maybe a condo if the right deal should come along) with totally irrational exuberance. Recession looms! Dot closings everywhere! The bubble has burst; the dam has broken and even sliding interest rates can't save you now.

But look around you, my friend. Chances are you are very close to a construction site. Hear that front end loader going to town? That is irrational exuberance in action. The economy may be experiencing a downturn, but someone forgot to tell South Padre Island about it.... this place is booming! This is good news; it is no fun - not to mention darn near impossible - to exuberate when everyone in your immediate vicinity is singing the blues.

Part of me is sad that the quiet, funky little beach town I "discovered" some 20 years ago is rapidly disappearing in a puff of construction-generated smoke, but it makes me happy to see my friends prosper and grow. With elections coming up, let's make sure we all get out and vote for the candidates who are committed to sustaining the current growth but also to preserving the natural beauty and serenity that drew us here.

irrational exuberance

Economics translated into sand - the idea gets developed in the garage; the venture capitalists move in, a dot com is acquired; celebration ensues and the bull is king of the hill (but watch out for the bear lurking around the corner ) See more photos of this piece here.

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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