I picked up a Micheal Lewis book, Boomerang. It’s a collection of five Vanity Fair articles from 2009 – 2011. You know that feeling where you come across someone who’s done exactly what you wanted to do? I’m not sure what that feeling it, but I had it.
Lewis went to Iceland after it crashed.
That’s what I wanted to do. But I didn’t go. Didn’t have the money. Lewis went instead. Vanity Fair gave him the money. And do you know what he says? He says that if it hadn’t been for his editor, it would “never have occurred” to him to go. I poured myself a drink. And then he thanks his researcher, who did so much research that Lewis felt “he, not I, should be writing about them.” Ah Micheal would you stop. Stop.
And now I’m stuck, you know. That going to Iceland was the one big idea I had. And the financial crisis – maybe that’s the only global financial crisis I’ll ever understand. Let’s be honest, if another one comes along I won’t want to understand it. I’ll have no interest in it. The great crisis of ’08 to ’11 was enough for me. Anything else comes along, I’ll just fit it into that framework. Iceland collapsing. Greece, Italy, Portugal on the brink. The IMF coming in to Ireland. The drama.
Anyway: Lewis. Lewis is brilliant. He wrote this line: “Left alone in a dark room with a pile of money, the Irish decided what they really wanted to do with it was buy Ireland. From each other.”
And then he goes and writes about Ireland and he gets everything right. Everything else about Ireland in this period should be pulped, and only this essay remain.
Let me just tell you the best line in the whole piece, and then we’ll finish. This line should be painted in large letters in Dublin airport. It should be printed on every rail and bus ticket in the country. Children in schools should be made to write it at the top of every page.
“An Irish person with a personal problem takes it into a hole with him, like a squirrel with a nut before winter.”