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A Juice Economic Stress Test: How Are You Weathering the Recession?

South Floridians have been hit as hard as any other region by this economic crisis, reminders of which creep into seemingly every aspect of our daily lives. Assuming that humor really is the last refuge of the damned and because curiosity is recession-proof and Cosmo-style tests are highly addictive, get out your number 2 pencils and count up the numbers of your answers to see where you stand.

From where are you reading this blog post?
1  My butler is reading it to me. I prefer his British accent to the sound of the voice in my head.
2  I'm using my new Mac Book computer, of course.
3  I'm at work, using The Man's computer.
4  I'm using my Mom's / Dad's / Son's / Daughter's computer. We're living together again!
5  I'm in the public library, where I have another five minutes of computer access, so you better make this snappy.

What's the best meal you've had in the past six months?
1  It was either Bova Prime or Forte di Asprinio.
2  That place that's on (or near) A1A.
3  Technically, it was in a strip mall, but it was one of those fancy strip malls.
4  One day I said, "Screw it! I'm going to a restaurant with actual servers." I left a 10 percent tip.
5  One day I said, "Screw the Dollar Menu! Give me that meal named after a numeral, good sir!"

Name the last place you went shopping for clothes.
1  Probably Bal Harbour Shops.Then again, I may have purchased an item or two while in Manhattan or while I was abroad.
2  It was in South Beach or maybe in Miami's Design District.
3  Sawgrass Mills, CityPlace, Town Center, or Aventura Mall. I remember it was huge, vulgar, and local.
4  I can't even remember, frankly. Does the Gap still exist?
5  Let's see. I was working at a dot-com, and I was stressing about the Y2K bug, and I thought, well, if anarchy's coming, I'll need a comfortable pair of pants... Actually, I'm wearing them now!

Where is the money you've been counting on for your retirement?

1  I have a diverse portfolio, but the lion's share is in a Swiss bank account.
2  I'm already retired. I planned so well that I can spend my Social Security check at the casino. Keep toiling, Gen-Xers!
3  It's somewhere in the market, floating belly up.
4  Considering the advancements in medical technology, I'm pretty sure I can work till I'm 80. And now that Obama's allowing stem-cell research, maybe even 90. But first I've gotta get a job with benefits.
Was real estate. Now? Florida Lottery.

Where did you watch your last movie?
1  At home, on a screen eight feet wide or more.
2  At a movie theater, of course.
3  At a movie theater, but we thought twice about it. I mean, $12 tickets? (We'll also accept "Netflix" here.)
4  Some website that pirates them from China. If you squint and get right up to the screen, it's like being in the theater!
5  On a VCR.

Why have you been putting off that health care visit?

1  Because I'm presently aboard my yacht and we forgot my doctor on the mainland.
2  I haven't. I'm a big believer in preventative medicine.
3  I'm just too damned busy! Someone has to do the work of those who've been laid off.
4  Because I'm fine! Besides, the health care industry is a racket. They exaggerate the need for care so they can get rich. Or at least that's what the infomercial tells me.
5  (Answer unintelligible, due to tubercular cough.)

 How much for your kidney?
1  How much for yours? I collect them -- just because I can.
2  You can have this kidney when I'm done with it. See? Organ donor!
3  $1 million
4  $1,000
5  I've already sold one... but what the hell! $100.

Where do you shop for your groceries?
1  Ask my personal chef. That's his department.
2  Whole Foods
3  Publix
4  Winn-Dixie
5  The Dumpsters behind Nos. 2-4.

What is the total number of holes in the socks and shoes you're wearing right now?
1  They grow holes?
2  Oh, come on! It's not that bad, is it?
3  OK, there's one. But I just noticed it. Don't look at me that way. I can afford footwear!
4  Two or more, but do you see how much they're charging for footwear these days?
5  Two or more, but I place the blame squarely on the original owner of these socks and shoes.

From what print media do you get most of your news?
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, or Palm Beach Post
4  Sometimes, on the way to the classified section, I see a headline that catches my eye.
5  Sometimes, while stashing clothes in a New Times bin, I happen across an article by those pithy SOBs.

     The Scale
10 points: Thanks for playing, H. Wayne Huizenga!
11-15 points: H. Wayne's friends, I'll wager.
16-20 points: Wealth and job security? You lucky bastard (or bitch, as the case may be).
21-25 points: So you retired and got out of the market before the crash?
26-30 points: You have a good job, but you're a little anxious that it might not last.
31-35 points: You have a good job, but now that friends have been laid off, you're terrified of losing it.
36-40 points: You have a shitty job, and you're terrified of losing it. You're beginning to hoard.
41-45 points: The ax fell, and you're in full-hoard mode.
46-50 points: Be brave, my friend! Obama hears your prayers.

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Thomas Francis

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