The 35th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash crept quietly by last week.
As usual, I found myself shocked by the rapid passage of time.
It wasn't the 35 years that shocked me. I was a teenage reprobate in 1987. Now I'm trying to parent three of them. October 1987 genuinely feels like a lifetime ago.
What shocked me was how quickly the five years have flown by since we made a big splash about the 30th anniversary.
Or, for that matter, the decade since the 25th anniversary and 15 years since the 20th - all of which I've covered for the Herald.
That's ageing for you, I guess. Time seems to accelerate.
Perhaps that's because each passing year represents a relatively smaller proportion of a total life.
Or perhaps it just seems that way because the events we experience for the first time, when we are young, imprint themselves in our brain more intensely.
More recent events rattle past without making the kind of lasting impact they once did.
It occurred to me that I can still recall the full lineup of the All Blacks' team that hosted the British Lions in 1983 but couldn't tell you half the current players.
I can reel off the host nations for every Olympic Games between 1968 and 2000 but can't be certain I'd get the last two right without Google.
Was it Japan? Was it last year?
The pandemic seems to have added another dimension to the distortion of time and clouding of memory.
As a disengaged teen, my direct memories of the 1987 crash are limited, although I can recall the political and economic fallout that followed in great detail.
The 1987 crash famously did far more economic damage here than it did in the US, where share markets recovered rapidly and the economy barely missed a beat.
In New Zealand, we had just opened up our economy to the world and had collectively piled into the opportunity that that created.
Unfortunately, the local stock market was effectively a giant Ponzi scheme in 1987, of companies built on selling and reselling the same inflated property portfolios and pipe-dream investments - like angora goat farms.
The companies on the NZX these days, the regulation of the market and the behaviour of investors are all far more sophisticated and grounded in real wealth production.
That doesn't mean it can't crash, just that if it does, it has a built-in capacity to recover.
In 1987, many listed companies failed, completely undermining investor confidence in equity markets for a generation.
Now, thanks to KiwiSaver, we're all invested again - hopefully in a much more sustainable manner.
But, whether we are at risk of another world-shaking market meltdown is the obvious question that flows from the anniversary of the 1987 crash.
The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
There are, in my view, good odds that we'll see another big market sell-off sometime in the next few months.
Prior to last week's big inflation number, I wrote about my concerns that central banks will over-correct and push interest rates up so far and so fast that they cause another crash.
Local data last week confirmed inflation is persistent and taking longer than hoped to ease.
That's got the market and bank economists boosting their calls for Official Cash Rate hikes and their forecasts for the somewhat ominously named "terminal rate".
The market is now pricing in a peak (or terminal) OCR of 5.5 per cent.
That would push a classic two-year fixed mortgage up to seven per cent, which (some readers may recall) I picked back in June.
I am actually still hopeful I'll be proved wrong.
If BNZ head of research Stephen Toplis is right, I will be wrong.
He is more or less out on his own now among the major bank economists, arguing that the terminal rate forecasts have been overblown.
Like his peers, he expects a 75 basis point rise from the RBNZ in November.
But he thinks the OCR will peak at 4.5 per cent after one more (25 basis point) hike in February.
His view isn't optimistic - it's just a different flavour of pessimism. He argues that we'll see "the wheels fall of the economy" by February and the evidence of recession will be clear.
With most Kiwis on fixed rates, the impact of mortgage rate rises are still just starting to be felt through the economy.
In the latest Reserve Bank figures, the average fixed rate mortgage was still just 3.68 per cent as of August.
There's a lot of mortgage rate pain still to come on the way to 7 per cent.
Toplis also notes the global economy is deteriorating fast.
Wall Street is becoming increasingly volatile as it braces for big Federal Reserve rate hikes in the coming months.
Global markets have eased into bear territory (off more than 20 per cent) in a relatively orderly fashion this year.
Further falls seem inevitable. The question is really just whether they continue to sell off slowly or shock the world with a big single-day fall, as in 1987.
A big crash at this point would certainly hurry the deflationary process along.
There are some merits to pulling a band-aid off quickly, I guess.
But we'd face serious social and economic damage as companies collapsed and redundancies flowed.
That's something worth remembering amid increasingly frantic calls to hike rates and squash economic demand.