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Economists take note
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 Some might scoff at the fact I consider myself quite the expert on the economy.

I am not without portfolio. I was treasurer of my freshman class in high school and I take The Wall Street Journal at home.

I don’t read it, but when friends drop by, they are impressed when they see my dog, Catfish, eating table scraps off the front page.

We’ve been hearing about certain economic indicators lately, and economists look at things like housing starts, retail sales and the hemlines of women’s dresses to predict what’s forthcoming for the economy.

Over the years I have developed my own set of economic indicators and they have proven to be trustworthy.

I was able to predict the stock market crash of a few years ago.

A couple of days before the fall I tried to get in touch with my broker and got a recording saying his phone had been disconnected.

I knew that was a sure sign the bottom was about to fall out on the Amalgamated Goat and International Mushrooms he had sold me a couple of days earlier and I told all my friends, “Get out of the market.”

They didn’t listen, however, and a number of them now live in cardboard boxes.

What follows is a list of the indicators I use to tell me exactly what state the economy is in:

• Golf tees: If you play golf, notice how many perfectly good tees have been left on tee boxes. If there are lots of them, then the economy is fine.

People are in such good shape financially they don’t even bother to bend over and pluck their tees out of the ground after they’ve hit.

If there are no tees left, it means people are tightening their belts and you might want to show up for work one day next week instead of lollygagging around on the golf course.

• Deion Sanders: If his monthly bill for jewelry drops under $100,000, tough times are ahead.

• Roach Motel: If you notice yours has a lot of vacancies each time you check it, even the roaches are feeling the crunch and staying home more.

• Tipping: If you leave your waiter a lousy tip and he not only complains, he also attempts to pistol-whip you, it’s a sign you should be at home eating fish sticks instead of being out at a fancy restaurant.

• Ex-wives: If more than one calls in a single day to complain about the amount of alimony you’re paying them, you can bet that luxury items such as Gucci pocketbooks and the silky things they wear at night for their boyfriends have gone sky-high.

• Jesse Jackson: If a crisis breaks out somewhere and Jesse’s not right in the middle of it making speeches, it means whoever picks up the tab to send him all over the world has decided to cut back.

My dog, Catfish, incidentally, thinks the economy is in sad shape. He’s been eating off copies of old campaign literature lately.

My subscription to The Wall Street Journal ran out and I was afraid to re-up. Jesse hasn’t been in the Middle East in weeks now.

Lewis Grizzard was a syndicated columnist, who took pride in his Southern roots and often wrote about them. This column is part of a collection of his work.