Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

There's money to be made in misery

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I used to wake up at 4 a.m. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.

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James Thurber

There’s money in misery. That’s what I always tell people when they seek my investing advice, which so far has done as well as my NCAA bracket.

But still, they ask, and still I answer with what makes sense.

“We are,” I say in my worldly college professor voice, “a generation of self-absorbed whiners and we don’t like to be uncomfortable.”

That explains why the arrival of spring and pollen, and the sneezing and coughing that come with it, has not inspired any sonnets lately.

I know I don’t have to tell you.

TV commercials touting anti-allergy cures are more common right now than political ads during the fall.

And we’re buying the stuff, too.

On Friday, for example, I had to make a trip to Columbia to talk about journalism futures with college students. I felt irritable, stopped-up and sneezy. I wasn’t too far up the interstate before I got off at an exit, found a store and bought almost $20 of cough drops, allergy capsules and nasal spray.

The darned stuff was expensive, but you know what? The darned stuff worked, so I know that if I need to self-medicate in the future, I’ll be spending my money freely again.

Everyone else will, too.

There’s money to be made in the discomfort of strangers.

PET PROJECT: People always talk to me about my dogs, and I always ask about theirs. It seems animal companions take on a role when the kids leave home. Here are 10 good reasons why:

1. It doesn’t take 45 minutes to get a dog ready to go outside in the winter.

2. Dogs cannot lie.

3. Dogs never resist nap time.

4. You don’t need an extra phone line for a dog.

5. Dogs don’t pester you about getting a kid.

6. Dogs don’t care if the peas have been touched by the mashed potatoes.

7. Average cost of sending a dog to school: $42. Average cost to send your kid: $103,000.

8. Dogs are housebroken by the time they are 12 weeks old.

9. Your dog is not embarrassed if you sing in public.

10. If your dog turns out bad, your genes cannot be blamed.

TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one from Everett Fernandez:

Finally, the good-natured boss was compelled to call Smith into his office.

“It has not escaped my attention,” he pointed out, “that every time there’s a home game at the stadium, you have to take your aunt to the doctor.”

“You know, you’re right, sir,” exclaimed Smith. “I didn’t realize it. You don’t suppose she’s faking, do you?”


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