11. Doctors’ Borders

  1. 01. Giving It Away
  2. 02. Mind Games
  3. 03. Customer Service
  4. 04. Getting Down to Business
  5. 05. …And Not a Drop to Drink
  6. 06. The Commission
  7. 07. Service!
  8. 08. Instant Celebrity
  9. 09. The Pinoy Diet
  10. 10. Life As We Know It
  11. 11. Doctors’ Borders
  12. 12. Poor, Poorer, Poorest
  13. 13. Half Empty
  14. 14. Me and My Leg
  15. 15. Always Be With You
  16. 16. Going Underground
  17. 17. Decisions, Decisions
  18. 18. I Shall Depart
  19. 19. A Volcano within a Volcano
  20. 20. A Nod and a Smile
  21. 21. Not Fighting City Hall
  22. 22. Stasis in Places
  23. 23. Fond Farewells
  24. 24. Parting Shots

“Well written,” my finance professor, Father O’Dwyer, scrawled on the cover of my term paper. “I pray to heaven you are wrong.”

It was 1980. The prime rate had just broken twenty percent, going up, with little sign of abating. Since the age of fourteen I had followed financial markets with the keen interest most boys reserve for girls. Now, at nineteen, I considered myself an old pro, a seer. My paper’s premise was there was no reason to think interest rates would ever drop back to “normal”. To the contrary, I cited several reasons to believe a “new normal” had been established. In my view, Father O’Dwyer and his ilk were the dying vestiges of a by-gone era, old men grasping at straws.

Being sick sucks. As if physical illness isn’t awful enough, after being sick a while I start a mental battle as to whether I might ever feel “normal” again. “This is the new normal,” my brain tells me, “get used to it.” Helpful brain.

Father O’Dwyer’s prayers were answered; interest rates came down. So did my fever. I started to feel normal again. It had been a difficult three weeks. Heck, it had been a difficult three decades. The face in the mirror each morning reveals increasingly sun-damaged skin and hollow eyes, a deteriorating new normal upon which the most favourable of interest rates has little effect. My brain had a point.

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