Ask Mrs. Vera: Dealing with the Fiscal Cliff

Question: Dear Mrs. Vera, How would you suggest the Congress deal with what they call the Fiscal Cliff?

Answer: Dear Cliff,

Mrs. Vera Newman strikes a provocative pose.

Mrs. Vera Newman, San Francisco

Try not to buy into the media hype regarding the fiscal cliff.  I for one am completely unworried at the prospect of hurtling off THAT particular ledge. Most Americans’ finances these days are so drained and depleted that the gravity of the situation will barely affect them. Try thinking of your relationship to financial failure as a bright, cheerfully colored balloon, filled with nothing but air. In fact, if you are carrying a lot of debt, it is like your balloon is filled with lighter-than air helium, and the Republican Party’s unwillingness to pay off the debt on the money they have already approved and spent will just leave you floating happily among the puffy fluffy clouds of welching over-reach!

Now if you are one of the unfortunate few burdened with astronomic economic well-being you might be tempted to wail like a crybaby who sees another child eating something you want, even if you don’t need it. These poor souls, if they have one, will have to soar over that fiscal cliff with their balloons full of nothing but weighty rubies the size of peaches, golden coins, burnished scepters, diamond studded tiaras, jade statuettes, bulky sheathes of real estate deeds along with assorted marble antiquities and cast-iron over-sized moneybin padlocks — No Thanks!

And anyway, lots of people have plummeted off cliffs and gone on to have successful, well-respected, fulfilling lives and careers,and some even became famous movie stars, like Montgomery Cliff and/or Cliff Robertson, Johnathan Livingstone Seagull and Chita Chita Rivera Bang Bang! When Mrs. Danvers tried her best to life-coach dim Rebecca into financial freedom, Rebecca’s quaking, paralyzing cowardice prevented her from escaping the grinding materialism of an over-dressed marriage. No number of Oscar awards inside a balloon is going to make that thing a flotation device — trust me on this.

But even if you do earn more in one day than a waitress earns in her entire, labor-filled and exhausting life you should be carefree and gay when your gem-encrusted jalopy’s wheels hit the salty air above those jagged rocks! Instead of repeatedly screaming “EEE! ARH! OH! EEE! ARH! OH!” over and over while your bones liquify allowing you to slide down stairs in a zig-zag stair shape while your speedometer blurrily whirls ever faster before flashing the message “crazy, ain’t it?” you should remember that with the cost of fossil fuels as high as they are you will surely come to a screeching stop just inches from the cold hard ground when the Nation’s vehicle runs out of gas.


Mrs. Vera NewmanMrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!



  1. Bob Burnside says

    I live in a bubble called San Francisco, far away from the problems of the world. When o When will those problems (global warming, end of petrol, financial meltdown, etc.) actually affect ME.

    • Dear Bob: Luckily for the world the bubble containing San Francisco resides on the bottom of a trendy section of the ocean floor 97 million years from now (give or take 97 million years), where the temperature is always 4 degrees celsius, oil rises immediately to the surface and all sorts of spare change sink through the ocean in a gentle shower of wealth. There is always a lot of pressure down there, to do the right thing, but the main thing you will have to deal with is how you cannot carbonate a beverage if you tried, so all those sugary drinks taste icky and function as a carbon sink full of avoided diabetes. Trained juggling octopi are the main consumers of (unopened) soda cans, another example of how San Francisco continues to dominate the cultural landscape of the continental shelf where America used to be. Winters remain exceedingly damp, so treat yourself to an extra sweater and you will be fine.

  2. Will Mrs. Vera have a regular column? Does she give advice on fashion and manners as well as politics?

    • Brooklyn Dame says

      The focus of this site is domestic and international liberal/progressive politics. No fashion, and no manners will be covered at this time.


    • Dear Ms. Blankenship: I am willing to talk about readers concerns with irregularity only in so far as it relates to the chronic constipation of the congress in particular the mutually impacted logic of Mitch McConnell and Johns McCain and Boehner. I will be writing this weekly column from an undisclosed location with my head in a burlap sack, so fashion and manners would be an awkward subject to discuss freely in front of my sadly rude and so-last-year captors, I know you will understand the need for delicacy in these situations, as well as the need for a cake with a saw baked into it. And for the record I adore that sweater you are wearing! It is perfect for the exceedingly damp San Francisco weather expected for the next 97 million years more or less!

      • Jack Davis says

        If we are going to stand on the beach and watch those burdened with wealth go over the cliff, what should I wear? Is it appropriate to wear something from Forever 21 or Old Navy? What if I got it at a thrift store? Do I have to wear only handmade one-of-a-kinds from struggling little shops in my immediate neighborhood? What colors are good?

        • A shark costume is always appropriate if the cliff you are watching has shallows and at least half of the John Williams orchestra on hand.

          Never look directly up a cliff, the scale of wealth of the plummeting well off is a tricky optical illusion that will astound you by it’s size when you realize that it’s not your perspective being thrown off, it’s just too HUGE to get out from under by the time you realize it’s true size.

          If you are feeling kindly I recommend wearing something trampoline colored.

  3. Scott Barney says

    Mrs. Vera:
    Now that the cliff has been avoided, what can I needlessly fret over next? Would it be fair to re-direct my nervous fretnergy to the Marchesa spring collection? If I fret over their sculptural Grecian draped gowns, will that remove my obligation to fret over the economic decay of Greece itself?

    • Dear Barney:
      To remove truly stubborn big purple grease stains from your complicated drapes without ruining your tiny dinosaur hands some people suggest relocating your dry cleaning facilities overseas and outsourcing all your labor costs onto the backs of the children of foreigners and then simply ship your laundry across the pacific ocean and roll around in the savings. But I think this is tacky, as we still have plenty of rocks in this great country, and frequent enough flash floods to beat those stains out in safely.

      This is the time of year to worry about the pre-early spring casual workplace purse season and Susan Sarandon’s career. If you must turn your thoughts to the Greek situation, pointlessly pondering the ‘why’ of Baklava is a good starting point.