Monday, March 26, 2007

A stomach virus

Albert had been calling for months and keeping me on the phone for hours talking to me about the stock market. We went to a Yankee game one day and it's all we talked about. It was really boring. If you're not a trader, "bids" and "asks" don't mean crap... and even the idea of a guy named "the specialist" who controlled the way stocks moved and routinely screwed everybody seemed insane. But then, Albert had made $75,000 in the last month. He showed me the check. This caught my attention. Still, I wasn't going to make the decision to go further into debt and to take a job with no guaranteed salary or benefits lightly. So Albert invited me to "sit in" and watch him trade so I could get a feel for the job.

I didn't mind calling in sick to the job I was preparing to leave. The place was nice and everything, it was an internet company, one that eventually had success, but the pay was awful. Instead of a good salary, you could basically come and go as you pleased as long as you got your work done. There were other advantages as well. They served beer and pizza at company "meetings" and each week we all played softball together. Oh, and there was the day the head of the office brought in a few large cardboard boxes full of those little plastic balls that kids jump around in at indoor playgrounds... Fun? Yes. But I had student loans and bills to pay. Anyway, I received 100 shares of company stock priced at about 15 or so. The stock debuted in the 30s and on it's first day of trade vaulted over 100. I sold the next day in the 80s.

It was my first stock "trade". It was also the easiest...

Between that and Albert's success, I was excited about this thing called the "stock market" which I hadn't thought about during the first 22 years of my life. And so the following Monday, I had a "stomach virus" and made the trip downtown.

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