The Crash Of '10: An Oral History

Looking back at the wreckage

The Great Market Crash of May 6, 2010, affected everyone in different ways. With the passage of time we can look back at the events of that day from a historical standpoint. In three separate interviews we got the perspective of a trio of bloggers from The Awl, a semi-popular website of that era.

Alex Balk: It’s funny, we were just sitting around talking about Courtney Love, without a care in the world. And then the news came through.

Maura Johnston: I was saying something about Nobody’s Daughter. I guess I was mocking it a little, but you have to remember, those were different times, back before the crash. We were able to joke then. Anyway, all of a sudden Choire told us that something terrible was happening with the Dow.

Choire Sicha:
I think it might have been the scariest moment of my life. I mean, I have been through some shit, but when Joe Weisenthal uses six exclamation points you know immediately that THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

Maura Johnston:
And also, let’s not kid ourselves, Nobody’s Daughter was not good.

Alex Balk: Once we all understood what was going on it was really strange. It was eerily quiet for a minute, and then Choire started looking around with this bizarre, focused gaze. We’ve never discussed it, but I’m pretty sure he was looking at everything in the room to see what he could turn into a weapon.

Choire Sicha: I figured I’d take Balk out first, because he’s slow and it would be easy, and maybe Maura would be so stunned by it that it would give me time to break free before all the shit came storming down. It’s a little mercenary, sure, but it’s all part of the training.

Maura Johnston: I grew up eating Old El Paso taco shells, so I knew that I could survive on pretty much anything, but I was a little worried about Choire. He’s such a pissy gourmet. I was genuinely concerned by what he might survive on. Balk? I figured if he lived through the first hour, which seemed unlikely, he had plenty of stored fat to see him through.

Choire Sicha: I know Balk keeps a bunch of Slim Jims in his computer bag. After I cracked him in the face with the table leg I was going to swipe those and head down to Mexico. [Chuckles] Of course they’re disgusting. [Suddenly serious] You don’t get to choose what you survive on. You JUST SURVIVE.

Alex Balk: It was starting to get pretty tense. If Maura hadn’t hit refresh on her screen when she did I don’t like to think about what would have happened.

Maura Johnston:
Well, you know, thirty seconds had gone by, I thought I might see if things had changed. By that point the Dow had bounced back by about 500 points. We took a deep breath and went back to our respective RSSs.

Choire Sicha: I probably will smash Balk in the face with a table leg at some point, but I guess I’m glad it didn’t have to be today. I’m also glad that now I know exactly which table leg I’m going to do it with.

Alex Balk: I tried to check in with Cho to see if he had made it through okay, but his IM message read “Out looting sneakers.” Which is usually what it says, so I guess he was fine.

Choire Sicha:
It’s the one on the right at the front. You see how there are already some dents and splinters coming out of it? That’s definitely gonna take that guy down.