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A serial killer later identified as Ted Bundy is on the loose. The Cold War gets colder while Watergate goes hot and heavy. Oil prices are on the rise in the midst of an embargo. 149 tornadoes are unleashed in a single night, killing 315 people and injuring 5,000. Nixon resigns.

In 1974, Ms. Jones was ready for a break!

No wonder one of the top 10 highest-grossing films of the year was “That’s Entertainment!” This happy-go-lucky song and dance compilation touted the tagline of “Boy, do we need it now!” It wasn’t a question, it was an exclamation!

And how about now, in 2008? Salmonella is our serial killer, Russia is still invading its neighbors and politicians are still up to their fun. Natural disasters and oil prices still dominate the headlines.

So how can you give Ms. Jones a good time? What do you do to entertain her, to take her mind off the woes of her world? Should you pooh-pooh bad news, or can you look it square in its beady little eyes and defy it? Truth is, times ARE tough. Can you put aside your own concerns when Ms. Jones graces you with her presence and make it fun for her?

What can you do to turn your store into an entertainment district? Can you show movies for her kids? Can you host a launch party for your newest line? Can you have a girls-night-out party? Can you show the football game and put out some chips? Can you have a local celebrity appearance? Can you have a silly contest?

Because, boy, does she need it now!

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