The Way We Live Now: Shabby chic. The shabby part is just the part about us being so broke we pawn our gold. The chic part is we do it in Beverly Hills. Where we've kicked out the poors!

Americans too snooty to be seen at pawn shops are now throwing "gold parties." The only difference is at a pawn shop you get ripped off by a stranger, whereas at a gold party you get ripped off by an acquaintance. The commonality is you are selling your family heirlooms in order to pay the gas bill.

Fanciness is being spread around, you see. Gated communities hide unspeakable recession horrors! Beverly Hills is kicking all the outside (poor) kids out of the Beverly Hills school system, so that Beverly Hills will not have to reveal to outsiders that it is now funding its crumbling school system exclusively with gold parties. Most "rich" folks have moved 100% of their assets into gold party funds, since we're just wrapping up the worst stock decade in history.

Everybody except this guy is jumping on the gold party train, because they have no choice!

The truth is, you don't really know whether the latest snowstorm forced Target to lay off your neighbor, or if your other neighbor's bike shop is about to go bankrupt, or if your other neighbor is some freaky sex perv, which is not a recession thing but just something that you tend to think about a lot. What you do know is that you can always count on gold parties to get you that crucial $100 for your $850 gold chain. As long as you have ripoffs to fall back on, the USA will never abandon you.