The Good Old Days

April 3, 2009 10:03 a.m.

A wistful TPM Reader RC checks in …

Something triggered a memory that made me wistful for the early days of the bailout. Remember “tranches”.

Sometimes a single word comes to represent an era, but rarely does a word so perfectly signify a single month, while that month completely circumscribes the usefulness of the word. For a brief moment, everyone was discussing tranches, what they were, whether they were edible, who was getting them and where they might turn up next. You’d drop tranche in a conversation just to show you knew what was happening – “I’m not giving Johnnie his allowance all at once. Instead, he’s getting the first tranche Wednesday.”

A month later, tranches were gone. “Tranche” didn’t even survive long enough to see the second tranche. Now, tranche is like “Ograbme” or “the XYZ Affair”, so distant that most people wouldn’t even know you were making a historical reference, let alone knowing the thing you were referring to. But damn, tranche was big for a few weeks.

Well, my investment banker friends had mentioned tranches to me here and there over the years. But yeah, brings back memories.

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