While some shell-shocked banking douches are selling blow-jobs as a way to cope with the economic meltdown, others are turning to more pedestrian methods to ease their stress. Namely, they're smoking their lungs out. Now that their hopes and dreams are dead, there's not much point to looking after their health, and they can be found puffing away all over the financial district like metalheads behind the high school bleachers. "Before the turmoil, says [Erick] Giliberti, a manager at Deloitte who works with mortgage-backed securities, I was maybe a pack a week.' Now? 'Probably double that...I can't stare at my computer screen anymore and watch the market collapse in front of me—I just want to get away from it.'"
A Lehman Brothers employee who, for now, has kept his job with new owner Barclays, is smoking "20, 30% more," in part because "we don’t really have much work to do these days, so we just sit around and talk to people." Nearby, a woman named Liz, who has been let go from Lehman along with her boss, says that stress at the company in the past six months led her to start smoking for the first time in her life—at the age of 61. "Everybody could tell that Lehman was falling apart the end of last year," she says. "I was under a tremendous amount of pressure, so I picked up a cigarette." It didn’t help matters that she lived with her daughter and her daughter’s fiancé, both of whom smoke.