At midnight last night, while you were most likely sleep-ing, you did a dangerous thing. You got a...
At midnight last night, while you were most likely sleep-ing, you did a dangerous thing. You got a day older, an act which, in 21st century life, invites trouble in a thousand different forms: a deadline passes; a warranty runs out; the emissions sticker expires; or the battery in the smoke detector goes dead.
Unbeknown to you, something bad might have happened involving your credit rating, blood pressure, green card or in- ground fuel tank. Termites were active. Possibly deer ate your garden if your makeshift fence didn't hold.
Before today is over, new information may surface to prove you made a bad choice yesterday with your asset allocation, health maintenance organisation or wireless calling plan. Your insurance policy may not cover you in circumstances that are about to begin unfolding and your mutual funds may be experiencing style drift.
At the stroke of midnight, something in your cupboard went past its 'best before' date. Could be an overnight rise in interest rates pushed your mortgage payment higher or triggered a lease escalator clause. At the same time, the deductibility of your mortgage payments may have been compromised by a change in your status vis-a-vis the alternative minimum tax.
It won't be known until later whether a recession arrived in the new economy, the old economy or both. Global warming may have heated up.
In their bedroom down the hall, your children dreamed of bullying somebody, being bullied by somebody or starting a long-term relationship with a person covered in tattoos. Chances are they forgot to wear their retainers, negating the benefits of a $6,000 orthodontia regimen.
A menacing weather pattern may force the cancellation of your youngest's play date this afternoon, the very same weather pattern that may also prevent your child-care provider from making it to work. According to the radio, traffic is backed up for 18 miles on the Willie Stark Expressway where a tractor trailer jackknifed overnight.
With each click of your digital calendar, the acceptance rate at every college where you'd like to send the children ticks down to a new record low. Do not stew over this inordinately, however, because the tuition is going up twice as fast as inflation and you couldn't afford it anyway.
Midnight brought you one day closer to an old age for which you're totally unprepared. "Remember, the future's in your hands when you read your Social Security Statement," says a government document that just came in the mail.
"Prevent identity theft Ã protect your Social Security number," the document commands you even before stating its business.
"Will Social Security be there when you retire? Of course it will," it goes on to say. "But changes will be needed to meet the demands of the times. By 2037, the trust funds will be exhausted."
Put out of your mind a magazine piece you read recently portraying the trust fund as an accounting gimmick. But notice in the text of the mailing that "you, your employer and Social Security share responsibility for the accuracy of your earnings record". Ponder a few moments how to make sense of that.
Also, mark your calendar: "Even if you don't plan to receive benefits because you'll continue working, you should sign up for Medicare three months before reaching age 65. Otherwise, your Medicare medical insurance (part B) could be delayed and you could be charged a higher premium."
Sometime after midnight, your favourite sports team won/lost a marathon thriller in extra innings/overtime/sudden death shootout. Several records were broken in a game interrupted by a power outage, stadium roof collapse and/or bench-clearing brawl. Though it was not actually a playoff game, a playoff atmosphere prevailed, setting the stage for a showdown tonight when the two titans meet again in a contest that's been sold out for weeks.
Perhaps while you slept last night, the final showing occurred at your local kiloplex of the last movie ever to be made without a graphic vomiting scene. The kiloplex, by the way, remains in operation while its parent company seeks protection under Chapter XI of the federal bankruptcy law.
On cable television at midnight, analysts debated whether the stock market's rally yesterday morning and decline yesterday afternoon qualified as a full bull market/bear market cycle, which would be the seventh so far this year. Prices gyrated in Tokyo overnight.
If you were asleep at midnight, you failed to notice any of these things as they happened to you and your loved ones. Don't make the same mistake tonight.
Chet Currier, Bloomberg New York newsroom
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