Joe Lavin

January 17, 2006

Gains Across Entire Irritability Sector


"Unhappiness has risen in the past decade.... So says a new study on life's negatives from the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center.... The researchers surveyed 1,340 people about negative life events and found that the 2004 respondents had more troubles than those who were surveyed in 1991.... Overall, the percentage who reported at least one significant negative life event increased from 88% to 92%." -- USA Today.

On Wall Street Friday, it was yet another banner day for Unhappiness. Based on a bullish report from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) showing a dramatic rise in displeasure, shares of Unhappiness rose sharply closing at 96.33, up 7.54. In fact, at the start of trading, Unhappiness even hit a new 52-week high at 99.56 when coupled with the NORC report there were also brief morning fears of a worldwide caffeine shortage. Later in the session, Unhappiness slipped back when everyone realized that despite all the bad things that were happening at least, Thank God, it was Friday. Meanwhile, shares of Happy People Going About Their Lives Without a Worry in the World remained unchanged at 1.76, although these shares continued to be hated by all the other shares.

Despite the new highs for Unhappiness, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, has repeatedly stressed caution (itself up 33% from 1991), suggesting that this irrational exuberance (down 12%) in the irritability sector could not possibly be sustained over the long term. In a related development on the futures market, Pessimism closed at a new 52-week high. Greenspan later threatened to burst the entire "unhappiness bubble" until advisors reminded him that this would actually release more joy into the world, and the notorious grouch reversed course and announced that he would simply take his unhappiness bubble home and play with it on his own.

With this further news, Pessimism surged even higher after the close. Lowered Expectations, however, stumbled after the close, when it admitted that its 4th quarter earnings were unable to meet analyst expectations, even after those analysts had in fact already lowered their expectations. Failure also fell, amidst reports that it would soon buy out the struggling startup Deferred Success. Wall Street questioned the wisdom of such a move, suggesting that Failure might be better off letting Deferred Success fail on its own and then picking up the pieces. Frankly, this isn't the first time that Failure has come up with a bold new plan bound to be a disaster, and investors were understandably wary.

Nevertheless, due in part to the surge in Unhappiness, the irritability sector as a whole remained robust, with strong gains in Moodiness, Agitation, and General Suckitude of Everything. In fact, underlying indicators from the NORC report were strongly favorable across the entire sector. In what may turn out to be a boon to unhappy investors everywhere, the report claimed that "most of the problems were related to increased incidents of illness and the inability to afford medical care; mounting bills; unemployment; and troubled romantic relationships." The inability to afford troubled romantic relationships was also bumming people out.

The percentage of people who reported breaking up with a partner doubled in that time from 4% to 8%. The percentage of those who had broken up with a partner but hadn't bothered reporting it to anyone because that would probably just make them feel worse also was higher. Upon noticing this strong increase in breaking up with a partner, traders around the world rushed to invest in Infidelity, although frankly they probably would have done that anyway.

This good news for Unhappiness, however, was tempered slightly by some fear that this could in turn cause unhappy investors to become happier and as a result shares of Unhappiness could actually go down in the long term. Others have also questioned the reliability of the numbers from the National Opinion Research Center, although according to the National Opinion Research Center, those people are just stupid. No one has ever claimed that the National Opinion Research Center is without an opinion.


©2006 Joe Lavin

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