Editors note: Since today’s column is purely a work of satire and invention, it’s assumed careful readers will discern the fantasy involved.

I don’t know about you, but, like our great nation, I’ve been having some money problems lately. My credit rating’s taken a precipitous nosedive. My seesawing stocks are at risk. I have a huge imbalance of payments. My DOW’s way down, congruent with my mood. Recession? Depression! My basic existential expenses like food and shelter have instantaneously skyrocketed. My income’s suddenly shrunk from vagaries of the marketplace totally beyond my control. I’m concerned.

Last year, economic necessity compelled me to sell off my supply of gold and diamonds at an unfortunate loss. I know, I know, currently gold’s topping $900 an ounce. Dumb! Yes, indeed, my assets are sagging. I’d love to repair my credit rating, but plastic’s interest rates are soaring, um, confiscatory, ahem, usurious. Factoring for inflation, my accumulated debt’s astronomical. Really alarming. Folks, I’m contemplating utter financial AND emotional collapse. The situation’s so perilous, even my beloved cat has a lien placed against him.

It bewilders me how I’ve descended to this impecunious level. Unless it was all those glitzy vacations, glamorous fashions, lavish jewelry, needlessly pricey restaurants, fast cars, box seats at major sporting events, massive counseling to overcome money guilt and, sigh, a ruinous array of men, men, men.

Moreover, my champagne tastes are still, uh, my champagne tastes. They rage unabated and periodically must be slaked. Alas, I’ve not been able to switch to lesser snacks like pork rinds or pemmican … yet.

My more solvent friends, all two of them, walk on the other side of the street when they see me coming. No longer am I invited to sophisticated salons and pleasurable enclaves where I formerly rubbed shoulders and other bodily parts with old money and new, hoping to borrow a few bucks to tide me over until conditions change.

Times like this, I think back fondly to the instructive plight of my former friend “Griscom,” not his real name, who, despite gambling professionally for something of a living, suffered protracted fiscal dry spells, hence requiring him to depend on the kindness of friends and acquaintances or even outright strangers – not just to “stake” his games, but literally to keep him alive.

Yanno, somehow “Griscom” managed to rack up 53 thousand dollars (!) in personal loans from those generous folks in his life, and not all of that money from women he romanced, either. Gosh, whatta guy!

Now, having unsuccessfully tried the same ploy that worked so well for “Griscom” – You know who you are, cough it up! – all I can say in admiration of his financial extraction skills is, well, WOW.

Whenever I see Ben Bernanke on TV touting the newest federal interest adjustment, shaving a quarter of a point off here or there, breaking it to us gently like a candy-coated but nevertheless disastrous medical diagnosis, I feel he’s talking specifically and directly TO ME, and, no, I’m not quite convinced that’s sufficiently pathological to require its own category of mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

In fact, I have a further and even more damning confession to make – I mean, besides insomnia-inducing worries about not having health insurance like 47 million other Americans living on the edge, or being terrified of looming federally mandated deadlines decreeing instantaneous obsolescence of TVs and light bulbs. What a boondoggle! To say nothing of a bonanza for that fifth branch of the gummint, Wal-Mart?

Each day I pray for Ben Bernanke to Rescue Me. Surely he’d shave my interest rates to shrink my credit card debt, but like bin Laden or Lady Luck, he’s become waaayyyyy elusive.

And yes, I’m considering putting up my gargantuan deficit note for grabs and hoping the Chinese, Kuwaitis or Saudis come to my aid. While a nearly unemployable and therefore entitlement-savvy female friend recommends a “no-doc” approach, which means, I think, an unsecured personal loan of vast magnitude, I’m just not quite certain what path would be most advantageous to take for now.

Who can predict what equity or punitive penalties these money people may someday attempt to extract from me in return for bailing me out, although I’m prepared to go the whole nine yards: bound feet, Chador, surrendering my right to vote, abstaining from weekly visits to the hairdresser, no more Botox or Restylane, you name it, anything to move forward productively and regain solvency so I no longer must continue counting out nickels and dimes out to pay for a paltry croissant for breakfast.

Onward and upward. Your move, Ben – please!

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