Greetings, distinguished guests.

The economy is going to get better slowly. The economy is also going to get better fast. Or vice-versa. It will definitely be one or the other. Or something in between. It’s just an issue of sooner or later, more or less. The opposite is probably true, too.

Even so, no matter how gradual the improvement, it will be sudden. The economy will stall around the third quarter, then build momentum through 2012, reverse course in 2013, then pause for a cigarette break. Whatever the case, the economy is headed in the right direction, roughly east by southeast.

So establishes my latest research, based on a new predictive algorithm to be presented at this conference here today.

The good news here is that the recovery is fully underway. The bad news is that the recovery will most likely take the rest of our lives. In fact, once we finally do turn the corner, we’ll still have to turn another corner, and then at least two more, only to bring ourselves full circle, a phenomenon we call cyclical. In short, the only rebound that will happen this year will take place on a basketball court. All signs point to that scenario, even though our mother always told us it’s rude to point.

Evidence to that effect is considerable. Some companies looking to scale back payrolls will now offer early retirement packages only to employees who have recently died. Anyone who has lost a job since the recession began can now get a tax credit toward retaining a private investigator to try to find it for you. And the private sector is increasingly sticking its tongue out at the public sector and making that teasing singsong “nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” noise we all remember from third grade.

All of these are surefire signs of a surging economy.

To be sure, the dollar is still weak, but reports have come in from Europe that it has started doing some cardio and eating more cruciferous vegetables. And though it’s already a given that the recovery is going to be jobless, it now appears likely it will also be shirtless and hairless as well.

My fellow economists have already speculated at length about the shape the recovery will take, mainly whether it will be U-shaped or V-shaped. My study concludes that it will be more like an equilateral polygon crossed with a trapezoid parallelogram. At no point, however, will the recovery suffer from the dreaded double dip, even though some noted analysts are convinced that a double dip sounds mighty tasty, like a dish you might order with extra fudge and whipped cream for your kids at Friendly’s.

Listen, I’ve crunched the numbers. And loudly, too. Luckily, the numbers happen to be pretty crunchy, 32% more crunchy than last year. And that’s because the Federal Reserve is now producing currency with a crispier batter-fried coating.

In sum, let me be unequivocal here. All the pros and cons regarding the economic outlook will vastly outweigh each other. Most short- and long-term thinking will be revealed once and for all to be exactly the same, different only in duration. My theorem here is simple. If the Gross Domestic Product rises faster than the Consumer Price Index— and if, further, Brock Lesner retains his Ultimate Fighting Championship via technical knockout—then China will agree to lend to us at a rate so sharply discounted it will cost us only our arms, letting us keep our legs.

In short, no one really knows anything. Equally of concern, no one knows no one knows anything. And that’s just reality. Or pretty close anyway. Otherwise all bets are off. So take my word for it. Your guess is as good as mine.