Poetic Justice for 2002's Passing

A rhyming (sort of) look back at the year that was, from the sinking Dow to Dennis Kozlowski, from Bono to microbrews

By Thane Peterson

Gentle readers, please lend me your attention,

I have a few thoughts I'd just like to mention.

We really must put closure on 2002,

And move on to better things without further ado.

In business terms, the year was a disaster.

Just thinking back, you want to get plastered.

The stock market stumbled, the economy dawdled,

Thank goodness last year couldn't be bottled.

Pensions plunged, 401(k)s were blighted

Companies failed, execs were indicted,

Ebbers, Lay, Fastow, and Kozlowski --

None of them guys you'd trust with the house key.

Morally speaking, we seem to be drifting

When Wynona Ryder gets pinched for shoplifting.

And what about Trent Lott's birthday-party jokin'?

Was it racist and evil -- or merely misspoken?

Even Jack Welch did some expense-account rejiggering

While details of his divorce set gossips to sniggering.

Al Taubman of Sotheby's landed in the pokey

And poor Martha Stewart sure took a soaking.

Bankruptcy filings mounted by the score

UAL, WorldCom, and a good many more.

Arthur Andersen went up in acrid smoke --

Its Enron accounting proved to be a joke.

The pink slips were many, as you might expect

In a year when so many reputations were wrecked.

Vivendi's Messier is one who got the boot

(His landing softened by a golden parachute.)

Jack Grubman is gone, and so is Henry Blodgett

Harvey Pitt saw it coming but still couldn't dodge it.

And President Bush ousted Paul O'Neill

Will John Snow set the economy on even keel?

Boston's Cardinal Law is also now history

The sniping from critics finally got too blistering.

On the Sopranos, even kind-hearted Carmella

Is breaking up with Tony, her long-time goodfella.

And, my, those who died are going to be missed,

From Jay Chiat and Bill Blass to Howard K. Smith.

Jay Berwanger has passed -- he won the first Heisman --

And Johnny Unitas, who had the nerves of an iceman.

Ted Williams is gone, Sam Snead is, too.

We even lost the great Seattle Slew.

Weep for Ann Landers and Thor Heyerdahl.

Without them among us the world seems so small.

The entertainment community is also pretty sad,

After losing Bruce Paltrow (Gwyneth's dad),

Kim Hunter, Rod Steiger, Rosemary Clooney,

And funny Chuck Jones, whose cartoons are so looney.

There were, of course, some reasons for cheer,

TIVO, Sonny Rollins, and microbrewed beer,

Barry Bonds, Daniel Day Lewis, and Halle Berry,

And Curb Your Enthusiasm with that fella named Larry.

Most of us loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding,

And there's plenty of snow this winter for sledding!

Let's thank our lucky stars for good old Paul Newman,

Giving away money like the economy was boomin'

The rock star Bono also did good deeds

Helping AIDS sufferers in their time of great need.

And how 'bout the Segway Human Transporter --

The greatest invention since bricks and mortar?

Plus, oh gosh, don't forget Alan Greenspan,

In the history of Fed chiefs, he's certainly the man.

As interest rates fall ever closer to zero,

To homeowners by the million, he's a fiduciary hero.

Still, looking ahead, our prospects seem cloudy.

War is impending, despite doubts among the Saudis.

With terrorists threatening, are we mice or men?

Should we attack Iraq even without the U.N.?

These are the issues that shadow the new year

Upper lips must be stiff, and our vision clear.

Please pray for peace, whatever your religion

And give more to charity, if only a smidgeon.

Laughter is a tonic, so don't forget to chuckle,

And try to make sure your seatbelts stay buckled.

It may not be a great year, but it probably won't seem bad

When you take a look back at the one we've just had.

Peterson is a contributing editor at BusinessWeek Online. Follow his weekly Moveable Feast column, only on BusinessWeek Online

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