The Carnival is Over --- Almost

As the closing ceremony for the XXVII Olympic Games draws near, Sydney is being warned by commentators to prepare for a severe case of Post Olympic Depression Syndrome (PODS).

For the last seven years Sydney, and indeed Australia, has been obsessed with the Olympic Games. Now, it is almost over and most people will have nothing to show for it except a few plastic mascots.

Psychiatrists, who have so far failed to gain any benefit from the Sydney Olympic Games are poised to make a killing once Post Olympic Depression sets in.

There is no doubt that Sydney managed to pull off the most successful games ever, but as the party balloons come down and the Olympic Flame flickers out, people will realise they have nothing left to shout about.

Some of the worst hit are Sydney taxi drivers.

They failed to reap the expected benefits from the Olympics. Many are planning to continue charging the 10% surcharge in an attempt to recoup some of the money they expected to make by charging the surcharge in the first place.

"We are devastated," said a spokesperson. " We expected to make a lot of money during the Olympics. Now it is over and we made nothing like what SOCOG promised. We are going to keep the surcharge for another month. We need to give drivers an incentive to stay in industry. Many have made no money in the last two weeks."

Thousands of Sydney residents are going to be depressed, although psychologists are predicting that it may take a weeks for the devastating effects to become obvious.

"I dread waking up to see the usual news on the front page. It will be the worst," said Sonia McMahon.

"I am starting to be terrified to use public transport again. How much longer before we have to read about derailments, collisions or just more late trains. I don't think I can cope," said one spectator interviewed at Martin Place.

Business leaders have warned that it will be weeks, possibly months, before productivity levels are back up. Many will be ill-prepared to deal with staff suffering from chronic withdrawl symptoms.

Many small businesses are suffering from the Olympics. As well as having to face up to their devastating loss, they are going to have to deal with the BAS.

They are angry. They were promised that the Olympics would be a financial boon --- but not every business was within walking distance of an Olympic venue.

Business owners are also worried that consumers, who spent a fortune in a euphoric feeding frenzy on overpriced Olympic souvenirs, no longer have any money left to shop with.

47000 volunteers are suddenly going to find their lives once again meaningless as they fade into oblivion. After the hype of the last two weeks they are going to find it difficult to adjust. Going back to selling "The Big Issue" is just not an option for some.

"There is just no point to my life any more. Who can I help now," said Herbert Dwight of Rooty Hill, "I thought of becoming a volunteer fire fighter, but you just don't meet as many people. It is all so pointless. What will I do now?"

Channel 7 is already working on a Today Tonight program dealing with PODS.

"It is all part of our strategy to maintain our viewers," said a Channel 7 spokesperson. "We need to help these people adjust to a normal program viewing schedule. Although we are planning a lot of post-Olympic follow up programs. We also think we can get another year out of re-runs of "The Dream" with Ron and H.G."

In an attempt to keep the flame burning many Sydney residents are turning to the Paralympics. A record number of tickets are being sold as people try desperately to keep the dream alive for a little bit longer.

Dick Smith, keen to ensure Australian industry does not lose out to foreign business interests, is set to launch his own brand of anti-depressant --- ProAnzac.

ProAnzac, a herbal remedy developed from an Australian natural resource - Paterson's curse, will be on the shelves of all supermarkets by the time the Olympic Flame is extinguished.