Europe, go home!December 7, 2011: 5:00 AM ET
Whatever you've got, it's obviously contagious. So until you're feeling better, hasta la vista, baby!
FORTUNE -- So I came into work this morning, and before I even had a chance to butter my muffin, I watched our stock take a nosedive. And we weren't alone. The whole market was bleeding. "Drat," I said, although that was not the word I used. I called Tupper, our IR guy. "What's up?" I asked. "Not much," he said wearily. "It's a sea of red out there."
"But why?" I inquired. "Our earnings were good. The marketplace is hanging in there. Nothing is different today than it was yesterday."
And he said to me, "Greece."
Yep. "Greece" is the word. Tomorrow it will be "Italy." Then "Portugal." Then what? Andorra? It's all about Europe. We have our problems over here. But they're the ones who really stink. Like, a goat falls off a cliff in Piraeus and boom! Value is destroyed all over the world! Is that fair? I think not! In fact, I think I speak for a lot of us in business when I say, Hey, Europe! You're a buzzkill! Get lost!
Let's look at it systematically. Starting with Greece. I don't know about you, but I don't care about it. I hear the islands are beautiful. Terrific seafood. Beyond that? Who needs it? Not me. Now they have all this debt, and the people over there don't want to tighten their belts, and yadda yadda. Good luck to them, but when they start rippling the world economy, that's where I draw the line.
Then there's Italy. As far as I'm concerned, Italy deserves whatever happens to it. Not Italians -- they're awesome, great history, delicious cuisine, supermodels on every corner. I also like driving Fiats, which are making a welcome reappearance on our roads. But Italians elected time and again one of the biggest buffoons on the world stage, a guy who installed his girlfriends in cabinet posts and is known for binding the sheaves of government, the military, and business together in a way not seen since the 1920s. By the time you read this, the horny little fellow may be out, leaving a totally dysfunctional situation. Hasta la vista, baby!
Speaking of Spain, likewise. And Portugal too. I hope they're happy over there, and I suppose they are, because they like to nap in the afternoon and eat a late dinner that often includes steak. That sounds great. What I don't like is when their economic situation harshes our mellow, and there isn't a thing we can do about it.
And then there's the whole thing with France. They got in bed with the Italians and the Greeks, so now they're at risk too. Tant pis! That's French. I've been to France, and I disagree with those who say the French are obnoxious. They've got the best food on the continent, particularly in the south if you like olives and anchovies, and if you're spending money, there are no people who are friendlier. What I don't like is the idea of waves of collapse rolling north from the Mediterranean, rollicking through the Loire Valley, across the Atlantic, and occupying Wall Street.
The whole mess has put Germany in the driver's seat. No offense, but I'm not sure I like that much, either.
And finally, now I have to worry about the euro. I mean, seriously? They wanted it. They got it. It was a pain in the neck when it was outpacing our dollar, and it has none of the charm of the jolly franc and the funny little lira, but I figured, okay, this was the way they want it -- euro it is. Now all of a sudden they're waffling and freaking out other perfectly good currencies and placing the whole scene into turnaround. It's just a big, fat bummer. If this is what they meant about the promise of the global economy, they can have it. We'll take it on our own from here.
So, see ya, Europe! Auf wiedersehen! Au revoir! Arrivederci! Do let us know when you're feeling better, but until then, stay away. Whatever you've got, it's obviously contagious. And you can't be too careful these days.
This article is from the December 12, 2011 issue of Fortune.