Our agony aunt, agonising, as she does

Dear Aunt Agatha,

I announced I’d retire next year even though I could have had another 3 years, and I feel obliged to go through with it. Since all my other forecasts have been wrong, I suppose I could carry on and “revise upward” my retirement date. But I’d look stupid, which I’m not, given my Harvard and Oxford education. And I was thought clever enough to be the first non-Briton to hold my job in over 300 years.

Some of my colleagues call me Jason, not because I’m like the serial killer in “Friday the 13th,” but because I actually used to be an ice-hockey goalie at university, and wore a similar mask. Some of the less friendly ones say I am a serial killer of hope with my gloomy predictions. I regard that as my job at the bank, and when I forecast mass unemployment and a recession if Brexit won, it was not just as part of Project Fear, but because I genuinely thought it would happen.

Look, I get predictions wrong because I’m gloomy and expect the worst. What else do you expect from a practitioner of the “dismal science” of economics? In reality the UK and the world usually turn out better. If I go ahead, therefore, and retire next year, I’m unlikely to be recruited as a forecaster. So what else do you suggest I do?

(signed) “Blarney”

Dear “Blarney,”

I spot you’ve never been short of cash, from your days of ‘golden sacks’ to your current take-home of over £800,000 a year. So what you need is the satisfaction of a role that fits your character. With your dark suits, unsmiling face, and the air of gloom you spread like a fog around you, you have the demeanor of an undertaker. You should capitalize on that by setting up a chain of funeral parlours. Your slogan could be something like, “Pass on with certainty into that uncertain future.” People would flock to sign up for your sombre services, knowing that, once dead, they’d be beyond the reach of your gloomy predictions.

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