When the current economic crisis first began to make the news sometime in late 2007, comparisons with market disturbances of the previous 15 years were immediate. The dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and the recession of 1992 were the main benchmarks.

In a few months' time, news analysts were reaching into the 1980s to find scenarios worthy to be compared with our present malaise: The stock market freefall of 1987 and its backdrop, the savings and loan scandal, were the bugbears for a while.

Then, as things began to look gloomier, the stagflation of the 1970s and subsequent economic mismanagement by the Carter administration made their way into the discussion. Poor Jimmy.

After this, it became increasingly hard to draw clear analogies without going back the big one: the Great Depression following the stock market crash of 1929.

Now, in this week's punditry, the century mark has finally been crossed. Economic crises that nobody alive could possibly remember, from the latter part of the 1800s, are being touted as “structural analogs” to today's problems.

The good news is that, if, as Paul Krugman suggests, today's debacle best compares with the panic of 1873, at least that crisis goes by the nasty “P” word and not the dreaded “D” word.

I'm not sure if these are technical terms, but apparently a depression is a good bit worse than a panic. Either way, it's pretty bad when you take comfort in the thought that we might be experiencing only panic. And recession is starting to sound about as serious as a bad haircut.

You have to wonder if the adjective “Great” in reference to the depression of the 1930s will soon fall away, just as the Great War, barely 20 years later, had to be renamed World War I. And to think that it was known for a while as “the war to end all wars.”

Perhaps the amazing thing is that the Great Depression — when your father or grandfather went to school barefoot, if he went to school at all, had an old bicycle wheel as his favorite toy and lusted after a tin of sardines — has held its title for as long as it has.

I guess if we start calling it the “downturn of the 1930s,” we'll know it's time to — well, time to do what?

Cash in our chips? (Did that — or should have — long ago.)

Throw in the towel? (I don't know about you, but I'm hanging on to any linens I've got.)

Pull up our socks? (Good, at least we still have socks.)

Cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving for what we do have? (Pardon the sermon.)

Speaking of sermons, you may find some encouragement in a story quoted by the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon. It seems a poor English Puritan, seeing that his family had only a single smoked herring and a few potatoes for dinner, bowed his head to return thanks. He prayed, “Lord, we bless thee that thou hast ransacked sea and land to find food for us this day.