January 1, 2009
The List: What's In and Out for 2009

The dancing in the streets is getting old already, so here's where the dread takes over. (Dear wonderboy speechwriter: We could really use a "fear itself" about now.) Vacation homes are on the chopping block; the stores are closing; no one's ordering appetizers or desserts. Even the universe has slowed its expansion, scientists theorize, meaning everything really is connected to retail. You start clipping coupons and offering prayers to Saint Suze Orman. Flat is the new up, conspicuousness is the new sin. Nobody wants front-row seats anymore, because it's safer to be part of the crowd. Luxury customers are asking for plain paper bags.

Times are tighter than Michael Phelps's delts, which are out. Our daughters flee to the comfort of vampires. (Eternal life? Alabaster skin? In!) You start to feel good about how a prolonged recession could get rid of the things you most loathe (destination weddings, "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew"), but then hope against hope that the things you rely on will make it through the darkness (Madhouse Munchies potato chips, Nordstrom, Netflix).

The first stage to consumer grief is denial.

The second stage is making a List...

Put a ring on it
Put a lid on it

Dressing like
"Mad Men"

Drinking like
"Mad Men"
My pastor
My "person"
Jonas = Osmond
Jonas = Timberlake
Gay rights
Vampire rights

Rihanna hair

Janelle Monae hair
Bumming cigarettes
Bumming books
Chefs with TV shows
Chefs who farm
Bragging about your eco lightbulbs

Secretly keeping an incandescent bulb in your favorite lamp

Bonus! The Stimu-List!

20 percent off
75 percent off and free shipping
High-end barbecue grills
Crock pots
Nostalgia for '80s songs
Nostalgia for '80s problems
Executive compensation
Executive castration
Searching one's wallet
Condos on the waterfront
Longshoremen on the waterfront
"It's all good"
"It is what it is"
Sleeping in parking lots

Big endowments
Look for work
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PHOTOS: Courtesy; COPY BY: Hank Stuever - The Washington Post; WEB EDITOR: Christian Pelusi -