The leaves of fall and the financial crisis

Fall is here. Our cheeks are flushed. The leaves are skittering happily across the pavement.

Of course, the leaves are skittering not because of the gusty fall breezes. The leaves are skittering because of this dude.

The demonic leaf blower.

He was cleaning up the sidewalk at about 5th Avenue and Willamette Street, where I have taken to carefully keeping my head down in case of stray gunfire or explosions. Who knew this was such a rough neighborhood?

Anyway, we can see that his preferred method for cleaning up the sidewalk is blowing his own crap out into the street. Where else?

There is a certain personality type, I think, for which the leaf blower is the most perfect machine ever invented. Essentially, this device performs a simple yet immensely satisfying act (no, not that act): It takes one of your own problems and readily delivers it to somebody else (with somebody else preferably being the public sector).


Oh, sure they made a little a mess in the street. But turn around and what do you see? You see THIS!

What a lovely, lovely, spotless sidewalk, thank you very much.

Whenever I see people doing this, I am reminded that it serves as an allegory for some larger interactions between the public and private sectors. For instance, consider our nation’s recent financial meltdown and its aftermath.

Here is a handy pictorial guide.

First, we have to understand the difference between the public and private sectors:

Then we bring onto the stage our villain:

In any good story, the villain has a sidekick …

… who will help him do the dirty work — in this case, clearing the, ahem, leaves off of his books:

To the tune of $151 billion — to be coughed up by this lucky guy …

So, now that we see how this works, let’s bring it a little closer to home.

Once again, we distinguish the public and private sectors:

And then we bring out our rugged leading man …

Of course, sometimes our hero — like any of us — gets himself into a little trouble. I mean, who among us hasn’t found ourselves tied up in bankruptcy court (twice)?

And so, finding himself with loads of real estate but, evidently, very little in the way of liquid assets, he goes looking for someone to give him a hand

And take one of those properties off of his hands …

It will make a most lovely park, he says. And, by the way, it would be such a perfect park to name it after his wife! How selfless!

3 thoughts on “The leaves of fall and the financial crisis

  1. 24th between Agate and Hilyard coming west has numerous piles of leaves both natural and man made.

    Change of subject.. did you bicycle today? I opted out due to the ice. Well the crazy drivers on ice to be more exact.

  2. So he’s the genius who built the “downtown living” on the outskirts of town. I am *shocked* to find out that it didn’t turn out to be a huge success.

    I rode to work, but I only have 10 blocks of fairly calm streets and the rest is river trail… I didn’t see too many other bikes out, but I saw lots of tracks in the snow.

    I think I’ll probably wimp out though and ride home well before dark.

  3. I have to hang my head in shame and say I didn’t ride my bike Tuesday.

    Road bike, skinny tires, not so good in snow/ice. That’s my excuse. I was half way to work when it dawned on me I should have ridden my wife’s Xtracycle, which has fat mountain bike tires. But, yeah, I was a little worried some car might slide into me, too.

    I did see one cyclist go down as he tried to cross 13th by Berg’s Ski Shop. He got right up and looked to be fine, but 13th was like a skating rink.

    Back when I was a younger man and living in Idaho, I had a mountain bike with “studded snow tires” that I made by screwing about a thousand 3/8- or 1/2-inch wood screws through an old set of tires, from the inside — so the points stuck out through the tread. It made my bike look like something Mad Max would ride, but it worked great, even on hard ice.

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