Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2001

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It’s All Gonna Be Okay ... !
A Reassurance of What the New Year Has in Store

by Lyle R. Hill

He stumbled through the doorway of my office and landed in one of the two chairs, which sit strategically across from my desk. He had an extremely pensive look on his face … no, pensive is not correct. Sullen better describes the look that he had on his face—sullen with a heavy tinge of forlorn. The “he” of whom I refer was none other than the one … and only … Koziac, the Polish accountant.

“Koziac,” I began, “what’s wrong? You look terrible.”

“Lyle,” he replied without even coming close to making eye contact, “things are awful. The New Year is going to be a disaster. Maybe the worst ever.”

We often divide people into one of two camps. First, there’s the optimists … those that always see the glass as half full. The other camp is occupied by the pessimists … those who always see the glass as half empty. Koziac, on the other hand, is in a camp all by himself. For you see, if you were to ask Koziac this, he quickly would tell you that it didn’t really matter because he was convinced that his glass had a crack in it and would soon shatter, not only spilling whatever was in it, but also slashing his wrist so badly that stitches would be required. He would also quickly convince himself that the stitches would become infected and ultimately he would most likely lose his entire arm to gangrene. I have tried to help him improve his overall outlook on life, but neither my efforts nor the efforts of countless others have yet to be even remotely successful.

I personally think it’s an accounting thing. Most accountants seem by nature to be kinda dour and brooding. Without a doubt, accountants are an unusual breed, and I have personally observed over the past several years that most of the accounting profession has what Koziac has … just in varying degrees. I have done a great deal of research on this and will be releasing a very well documented report with my findings next fall. I have named this malady “Beanosis” in honor of the trade that seems to propagate it.

“Come on, Koziac. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. It’s all gonna be okay.”

“You’re a dreamer, Hill. Have you seen the numbers that the market put up for the past 12 months? Do you realize that the DOW was down over 10 percent last year and the S&P 500 was off by over 14 percent? And are you aware of the fact that the NASDAQ composite index was off by more than 43 percent for the past year? And predictions are that things are only going to get worse.

“Koziac, you worry too much. The market has a way of adjusting itself over time and let’s face it, the gains of the late 1990s were pretty wild. It had to settle down. It’s all gonna be okay.”

“Yeah, well what about all of the leading economic indicators? Consumer confidence has dropped like a rock, we have runaway energy prices, corporate profits are declining everywhere and retail sales have hit the wall. Things are looking pretty glum and will only get worse.”

“Koziac, Koziac, Koziac. Poor, troubled, disturbed Koziac. It is all just a little bump on the American Economic Roller Coaster. Relax ... it’s all gonna be okay.”

“Hill, you need a dose of reality. We’re in trouble. Have you seen some of the prices that our competitors are throwing out lately? It’s getting nasty out there. We can’t compete and survive at those price levels.”

“Koziac, we’ve been together for more than 30 years and we’ve seen the cycles come and go. Let the competitors fill up with cheap work. It’s all gonna be okay.”

“Well what about the Oldsmobile thing? One of country’s oldest car manufacturers closing its doors forever. It’s a bad omen I tell you. And you know how I feel about my Oldsmobile. What will I do for parts?”

“Listen, Koziac, it’s a competitive world out there. If you don’t make a product that can compete, you’re going to ultimately fail. Besides, it’s time you got rid of that ’78 Olds and bought your wife a decent car anyway. The last time I looked, that thing had almost 200,000 miles on it. So dig up a few of those cans you buried in your back yard and go buy a new car.

“Hill, I think you’re nuts. In fact, I think our entire society is in trouble and the end is near. And to further support my position, I’ll have you know that I read in a news report just the other day that the number of college students planning to major in accounting is down more than 15 percent from what it was only three years ago.”

“Koziac ... as I’ve been saying right along ... it’s all going to be okay!!!