January 21, 2009

[Editor’s Note: Lewis hears that the stock market is declining.]

—Yeah, and the Dog-Jones is plummeting, too.

“The Dog-Jones? What does that measure?”

—Nothing material . . .

“In other words, not much different from the Dow, which deals in mystical assessments of ‘value’ determined by the fevered greed of the Invisible Hand of the Market.”

—True, as far as I understand the whole “money” thing, which usually I don’t . . . no dog does: why humans spend so much time fussing about imaginary non-objects continues to baffle us. But the Dog-Jones is the closest thing we have dealing in such less-than-concrete matters.

“So what does it measure?”

—Basically, the state of all dogs all over the globe.

“The state?”

—Yes, how content we are, how pleasant our circumstances. Are all dogs getting enough biscuits, for instance. That kind of thing.

“That does sound like something rather difficult to calculate.”

—Indeed, and admittedly it’s probably more intuitive than anything. Usually, however, when times are hard for humans, they’re also bad for dogs: more of us get abandoned, get fed cheaper food, get kicked by frustrated stockbrokers, and so forth and so on.

“And is your personal Dog-Jones declining?”

—Not if I get to stay inside today.

“We’ll see about that.”