Monday, July 10, 2006

The "How Am I Doing?" Index

By David Seth Michaels

Today, I'm wondering if there should be something like the dow jones average to let me know how I'm doing in life. You know: today the david index is 704.58, up .5%, on fleeting prospects of fame and wealth. Or, today the david index is at 698.30, down 1% on having an itchy rash and receipt of many bills. This, I suppose, would be of some assistance in knowing what I think about myself, unlike dow jones, where when I hear the results I think, "Well, how exactly do I feel about an increase of 65 points. Am I happy to be avoiding a fictitious margin call? Am I happy because the rich are getting richer and I want to share their delight?" In a world where alienation of individuals from their feelings is commonplace, but economists persist in measuring things like "consumer confidence" as if that were actually something, having a personal index might help. When asked how I was I wouldn't have to check myself out. Instead I could respond by saying, "716.54, slightly up on moderate humidity and the chance of cold chardonnay late in the day."

David Seth Michaels lives in upstate New York. Today he is at 710.35, unchanged, pending the World Cup final.

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