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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a variety of important things: when my stimulus check will float in, whether I’m going to be able to afford gas this summer, what sort of cuts I can make to my food budget (OK, spending, it’s not really a budget).

I don’t mean to be a downer, but I really think things are only going to get worse. And I have to say, if we’re in for another Great Depression, we’re in trouble.

The way I see it, recent generations are unprepared to deal with such a catastrophe. When the Depression hit in the ’30s, we weren’t that far removed from the start of the Industrial Era, and we weren’t that far removed from much of the population living under terrible conditions. I’m not saying that the Depression was a party, but people got through it. They were resourceful and resilient.

I really don’t see those qualities much today.

What I see is people who think the world will end if they can’t check their e-mail or their phone doesn’t get service in a certain spot. I see people who think they are entitled to have a nice house and a new car, and complain when they have to work for it.

I see people who are wasteful and selfish. I see people who toss things in the garbage and not the recycle bin because recycling isn’t as easy. I see people who buy new cars and new cell phones and new clothes not because they are truly needed, but because they will feel more important if they have something new. Whatever happens to the old ones isn’t their problem.

Maybe what we really need is another depression, to knock us off our high horses and get us back on track.

Think about it.

Address correspondence to Anne E. Kettenbrink, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802, or via e-mail,

If we can’t afford gas, we’ll stop polluting the environment with toxins. If we can’t afford to drive anywhere, we’ll stop paving over nature. New shopping centers won’t be built, and maybe we’ll go back to the buildings that we’ve abandoned and left to rot, hoping someone else will come along and fix it for us.

If we can’t afford eating out, we’ll learn how to cook again at home. We’ll eat less processed junk and more actual food. We might even grow our own vegetables and fruits.

If we can’t afford cable TV, we might have to go outside for recreation. Kids might go back to swinging on the swing set, hanging upside down on the monkey bars and running around doing nothing instead of sitting in front of a video game all day.

If we have to adjust our lifestyles, we’ll be skinnier, healthier, our environment could be better and maybe most important of all, we’d be more grateful for what he had and more thoughtful about how we used our resources.

Maybe we don’t need another depression, maybe we just need a good scare. Either way, I think we deserve a good kick in the pants.

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