Lanzarote Grapevine Issue 2 - Page 111

Issue 2 | The Lanzarote Grapevine 2014 Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour. They invented schadenfreude. the word It means our compulsion to laugh at the misfortunes of others. Go on, admit it; can you resist the temptation to break into a fit of giggles when someone walks into a lamp post or door. There you are, point made. We often find humour under the most dreadful circumstances. The recession has produced its own brand of wit. ‘With the market turmoil being what it is what’s the best way to make a small fortune? Start off with a large one’. This gave rise to the jape: ‘I talked to my bank manager yesterday. He said he was going to focus on the big issue. He sold me one outside McDonald’s today.’ I can identify with that. I received a letter from my bank manager stamped, ‘Insufficient Funds’. I wrote back, you or me?’ Investment banking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Most of us relate to ‘what is the difference between an investment banker and a London pigeon?’ The pigeons can still make deposits on BMW cars. One businessman wryly remarked that bankruptcy was worse than divorce: ‘I have lost half my net worth and I still have my wife’. Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson issued arrest warrants on the bankers responsible for bringing the economy to its knees. You know the credit supply is crunching when your cash-point asks if you have any spare change and the Inland Revenue offer a discount for cash payers. This was the basis of the joke, ‘Record levels of unemployment have been announced. Those worst effected are the construction trades and Iceland’s bankers.’ Many a true word said in jest, my favourite is the story of the builder who asked to be paid in Zimbabwean dollars rather than U.S. dollars. The roll call of bankers who have taken their own lives since the beginning of their Ponzi scams has reached unprecedented levels. We all know the feeling: ‘What’s the definition of optimism? An investment banker who irons five shirts on a Sunday evening.’ In Britain there’s The Big Issue magazine; it is sold by unemployed street sellers. Why have real estate agents stopped looking out of their windows in the morning? S C H A D E N F R E U D E Because if they didn’t they would have nothing to do in the afternoon. by Mike Walsh