Richard Carnes: Survey says it all, maybe
According to a recent survey, signs of the impending apocalypse and our death as a nation are greatly over exaggerated.
Although the European Union teeters on the edge of total collapse, Americans are still dying in our longest (and dumbest) war to date and the Gulf of Mexico is precariously close to having similar values per acre as a Chernobyl wildlife sanctuary, the same survey appears to show the big picture of our U.S. economy finally heading in the right direction after two to three years of sharp losses.
Here are the survey facts (as I interpret them):
Forty two-man teams made up of one member and one guest. Most guests brought a spouse, and about half brought their kids, totaling anywhere from 125 to 150 guests to Happy Valley.
They came from as far away as Alaska, Minnesota, New York and Florida, most of them flying, which helped the airline industry.
Those who drove helped the auto industry and (sigh …) the oil industry, but at least they were helping.
Upon arrival, they went to restaurants and bars, attended shows (Yo-Yo Ma was a hit) and, of course, went shopping, which helped virtually every aspect of our various, yet dysfunctionally synchronized, local industries.
OK, so my “survey” is nothing more than me observing and playing in a local member-guest golf tournament (Sonnenalp Golf Club).
But I spent three solid days talking to dozens of people from all over the country, and the fact that the event was full is itself a small testament to our long-awaited economic turnaround.
Before you cross your tips in a nasty letter to the editor about stereotyping middle-aged white guys playing golf, realize that all this came from only one golf course out of about a dozen locally that have similar events and from only one local sport out of dozens that draw anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of guests at a time and all from only one little valley known worldwide as Vail.
And it’s our valley.
I don’t believe any of the guests are captains of one industry or another, and about a quarter are retired, but the rest are integral parts of whatever machine they are connected to back home in their own valleys, and each one mirrored similar feelings about “things looking up.” From sales figures to production numbers to employment opportunities, they were all much more optimistic than they were over the past two years.
Mass delusions based upon a herd mentality of chasing whitey?
Too much barley and hops at the 19th hole?
Of course, my analysis might not be indicative of anything at all, and I just happened to talk to the right people at the right time. We might be right about to catapult off the cliff of economic stability and land in a pit of worldwide depression that won’t stop for decades, but I thought it was worth mentioning either way.
Besides, a little optimism can’t hurt around here.