Appropriate Behavior is a Moving Target

A few weeks ago I wrote about why I loved modern times.

This past Friday, I had an opportunity to put my admiration for technology to work.

Although I was an early adapter of technology, having set up a Novell network back when it was v1.1 and the people in Orem, Utah knew me on a first name basis, I was very slow to pursue the personal technology explosion.

Mostly because I non’t really believe in personal relations. Remember, I have no Facebook friends.

I resisted the temptation of Palm Pilots, I eschewed all things iAnything and my personal cell phone has always been antiquated, although its tethering cords are spun of fine silk.

Admittedly, I’ve have some wanderlust for the iPad, but I know that once I make that plunge, the “cool factor” will officially be gone, so I allow the world to remain giddy while I stay unconnected.

In many ways, I’m still stuck in 1986, which was a very good year, including the birth of my first son and the last time my beloved New York Mets won the World Series. In many other ways, though, I go back much further.

But my 19th century sojourn in the land of cellphones past ended a few months ago when my son picked up a smart phone for me, as part of a “BOGO” deal.

Now, I’m an emotional cripple if my Droid battery dies on me, which it does seemingly every 15 minutes. Fortunately, most days I’m glued to the La-Z-Boy and all electronics are plugged and charging.

This past week was really my first test of personal integrity and respect of institutions, decorum and education.

Although I am essentially retired from professional life, I was attending a professional conference in New York City, that for all purposes, marked the end of my commitment to the organization that represents my healthcare specialty.

My final Board of Directors meeting was on this past Friday, from 9 AM to 1 PM.

But instead of paying much attention and contributing whatever wisdom remained in the now smoothened ex-fissures of my brain, I focused on my trusted Droid and its E*Trade application, although I occasionaly checked Twitter and read my daily Dilbert.

With every Friday now being an options expiration Friday, I really didn’t feel that I had the luxury of paying attention to such issues as promoting life-long learning.

Did I really want to analyze budgets and P/L statements?

Not really. I wanted to make some trades and my Droid was my “bestest” friend. After all, even a couple of hundred dollars on an options contract expiring in a few hours was a worthwhile endeavor.

It just took time, effort and attention to find the right trading opportunities and the willingness to close my mond to other things going on around me.

My Sugar Momma of a wife would say that I was already quite good at that.

Now if I had happened on a student acting the way I was acting just a few short years ago, I probably would have had some very sarcastic, humorous comment that would have superficially covered some deeply seated anger over the wanton display of disrespect.

Man, I should have been a therapist.

But here I was, being the disrespectful kind of guy that I never really cared for, unless they could do it without getting caught.

Those guys I respected.

But I didn’t even make any attempt to hide my lack of focus on the topic at hand. It’s not like I hid the phone in my lap. I was fully engaged in a behavior that had evolved to a point that it seemed entirely appropriate.

Besides, I was too busy trading to care. I sold some JP Morgan Chase $43 calls that were set to expire later that day, as well as some Time-Warner calls, right after Time Warner went ex-dividend.

I made enough that morning to make me happy for a week and it at least makes up for Monday’s day off, due to Memorial Day.

After the meeting was over and the market closed, I remained holding my JP Morgan shares, as the options expired worthless, although I did lose some other holdings, owing to a late surge in SPY and Freeport McMoran..

** FILE ** Gary Carter, an 11-time All-Star catcher, got was elected to the Hall of Fame Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003 with 78 percent (387). He played his first 11 seasons with Montreal and became the first person to have spent a significant portion of his career with the Expos to be elected. (AP Photo/file)

Later in the day, as we sat with some friends in an Ale House, I was thinking about my behavior earlier that morning. It really didn’t take much to get me to rationalize my “multi-tasking”, particularly in light of the continuing education program the following morning on ADHD and OCD, but still, I felt as if I had behaved inappropriately.

As I had not yet dismissed any guilt over the morning, I re-directed my attention and admired the framed  collection of 1986 New York Mets baseball cards hanging on the wall. At that moment, we were all unaware of the news that was going to hit in a couple of days, that Gary Carter, “The Kid” had a rapidly growing inoperable brain tumor.

His card was front and center among a collection of great New York Mets stars, some of whom went to to inglory, wasting great talents and robbing the Mets of a potential dynasty.

Gary Carter was the conscience of the Mets back then. He was the leader and had a work ethic and zeal that was second to none.

To be both “The Kid” and the elder statesman of the team says quite a bit.

I don’t know very much about Carter’s life after professional baseball, but I imagine that he applied the same sort of zeal and enthusiasm to everything he did.

In my mind, Carter’s behavior probably had not evolved, or from some perspectives on modern culture, devolved to meet society’s changing directions.

Apparently, I don’t have the same kind of moral compass.

During the lecture on Saturday morning, very possibly the last lecture I will ever sit through, I resisted playing with my electronic umbilicus for as long as I could.

As I looked at more and more slides on the topic, I decided that I had ADHD, and as such, I could excuse my need to shift my focus.

Unfortunately, the markets are closed on Saturdays, but still, there was no shortage of games to play, news articles to read or Twitter posts to make.

Reprehensible behavior? Maybe so to the me of a few years ago.

Today, not so much, but deep down, I probably wished that I could maintain the effusive energy and commitment to tradition as Gary Carter.

Eh, at least I made some money while evolving into a bad boy.

Here’s to Gary Carter and a commitment to ageless standards. May you continue to make great new memories for you fans and admirerers.

 

Why I No Longer Watch Jim Cramer

 

 

I’ve been on Twitter for about a month now and if you’ve been following me, you’re no doubt annoyed with the intrusion on your lives.

Sorry, but an addiction is an addiction. They’re very tough to break.

CramerSo too was my addiction to Jim Cramer. So much so, that when I was in the insane commuting phase of my life, flying to and from Boston every week for about 7 years, I always made certain to DVR Mad Money shows that I was likely to miss.

My DVR, with some sort of developing artificial intelligence based on my predictable behavior, would get concerned and break out in a cold sweat if I forgot to program it for CNBC at 6 PM.

I actually broke out in a cold sweat when CNBC paired back airings from 3 each day to just two.

I mention my Sugar Momma with some frequency in my blogging and book. We have had very few substantive disagreements over the more than 25 years of marriage. However, one such disagreement was over Jim Cramer.

She couldn’t stand his voice.

“Why is he always yelling? He gives me a headache”.

The fact that she preferred to switch the station to watch “Judge Judy” for some reason didn’t seem incongruous to her.

Talk about irritating.

Anyway, in the short time that I’ve been on Twitter, it would be nearly impossible to not realize how much venom is (mis) directed at Jim Cramer.

One of the great conflicts that I’ve had in my life is similar to one that I experienced as a child.

Back then, our family used to go away for summers to the “Bungalows” in what used to be considered Upstate New York, but what eventually became a commuting town just outside New York City.

During summers, you would actually develop an entirely new circle of friends.

Your summer friends. Because they were in such far flung boroughs as Brooklyn and Queens, there was no possibility of ever seeing them during the rest of the year. In fact, even some portions of The Bronx were just too far away to be conquered.

After a few years, I had developed a great summer relationship with Kenny, and one year I was so happy that he was going to visit me at my non-summer home and get to meet my rest of the year best friend, Sidney.

Long story short, they hated each other.

And so it was when Jim Cramer appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”.

So I should be used to slings and arrows being hurled at him.

Yesterday, though a a really disturbing Tweet was referenced by someone I followed, who described it as the most disgusting Tweet of the day.

In essence, without repeating or glorifying that Tweet, the writer, while offering some condolences regarding the sudden passing of Mark Haines made certain to mention that if the same fate were to meet Jim Cramer, the markets would celebrate.

Human nature being what it is, I had to treat this Tweeter as if he was Roadkill, in that I had to give into my curiousity and check it out.

Typical Penny Stock idiot filled with hatred. Probably has an unusually small penis, as well.

I ‘ve always liked to say that Penny Stock traders are like Gangbangers. They don’t survive into adulthood.

Why I chose to capitalize “Penny Stock” and “Gangbangers” is beyond me. They certainly don’t warrant that kind of respect.

This fellow clearly has a lot of growing up to do. I’m not hopeful for that ever occuring.

But let’s get to why I don’t watch Cramer anymore.

That’s because Cramer did his job.

He’s always said that his goal was to educate and entertain. No one does it better than he does.

No matter how much you respect education, it’s time to move on.

I did.

After two graduate degrees, coincidentally from the same institutional parent that Cramer attended (and at the same time) and another 20 years in advanced education, I finally moved onto the “dark side”. Time to put all of that education to use and make some real money.

As respected and buttoned down as the late Louis Ruykeyser was, he had nowhere near the impact of Jim Cramer on demystifying the world of the markets and educating everyone with access to basic cable.

It was more than Brooks Brothers three piece suits versus rolled up sleeves.

I listened and watch intently for years and Cramer taught me how to think with regard to investments and market psychology. I still can’t understand why he gets so much blame for his opinions and calls. He always warns people to do their own due diligence and to not plow forward.

If you ever watched the ticker in the after hours as he spoke, you realized that greed overtook common sense and people just ignored Cramer’s rules.

One of the things I learned from Cramer was the need to wean.

For a while I ran a subscription service offering very short term covered call plays. In my home page, FAQ’s and disclosures I made it clear that if I was really doing my job properly, subscribers should be able to go out on their own after just a few months, because the strategies were intended to be non-proprietary and transparent.

Additionally, I ran a subscription service for members of an affinity group to which I belonged. An additional disclosure for those potential subscribers was that as a member of an affinity group they were uniquely poised to be taken advantage of by predators. After all, how could you not trust someone from your own caste?

The program was a day to day service and was also very limited with regard to the number of subscribers that I could handle. But there too, the intention was clearly made that subscribers should be able to move out on their own after a few months.

Like a Momma bird, I was proud to see them go and even more proud when a number of the past subscribers suggested that I codify the Option to Profit strategies in a book, aptly named Option to Profit.

So thank you Jim Cramer. Momma Bird.

You gave me an education and set me off to soar on my own.

 

Addendum: Although I no longer watch Cramer’s Mad Money, I listen raptly to his other on-air appearances throughout the day. I think he was an excellent addition to the latest iteration of Squawk on the Street. I think Mark Haines would be pleased, as well.

Sidney and Kenny? Lost track of each of them. Sidney moved to Vermont and Kenny to Florida. Talk about opposites.

Sigh.

Yet another Addendum: On March 14, 2012 Cramer’s Mad Money celebrates his 7th Anniversary on air. Congratulations. I’ll be watching, since Sugar Momma is in California for a few more days. I know where my bread is buttered.

Oh, but I was able to uncover from the CNBC archives my audition tapes for the original Mad Money show.

In hindsight, I think my gimmick over throwing dixie cups was a little under the top.

 

 

 

Remembering Mark Haines

 

Does anyone really like a curmudgeon?

Mark Haines SzelhamosApparently so, because the truth about a deep down “softie” came out yesterday in the aftermath of the sudden passing of Mark Haines. We got a glimpse of that part barely 2 weeks ago when Mark Haines bid farewell to his broadcast partner, Erin Burnet.

The difficult task of making the on air announcement fell to Carl Quintinilla, who was choking back tears as we all sat stunned at the news. Newsmen don’t usually do that sort of thing. They’re stoic, unbiased and without on-air passion.

To break through that facade there has to be a very deep and personal connection.

CNBC did a wonderful impromptu job in remembrance of a bigger than life on air personality in the world of business news. Uncharacteristically, they recognized the continued existence of some past on-air personalities, such as Ted David and Liz Claman, by passing on their words of condolence.

These days, I rarely watch CNBC after 6:59 PM, but tonight had to be different. Last night, their 7 PM show, remembering the life and work of Mark Haines was truly in the spirit of NBC’s past, “Must see TV”.

As an inveterate and addicted CNBC viewer, I used to start off my mornings with Mark Haines, Joe Kernen and David Faber.

I was disappointed when that entertaining trio was split up, but came to realize that Haines could entertain on his own.

He entertained by being unlike anyone else on air. He didn’t fawn over self-anointed experts or personalities du-jour. He asked probing questions and had very expressive body language, never seeking to mask his real thoughts.

Everyone is remembering a classic interview with Barney Frank. In fact, it was ironic that Bill Griffeth, such a genuinely nice man, was called upon to interview Barney Frank this afternoon.

Can you take a guess what kind of mood Frank was in when even slightly pressed?

As a liberal Democrat, I typically agree with Frank’s positions on issues, but I just can’t stomach his personna and pomposity. Although power hasn’t corrupted Frank professionally, it certainly has done so on a personal level.

Who would ever think that two seemingly disparate people like Mark Haines and Stephen Colbert could be joined together in a non-partisan demonstration of just how pompous Frank really was?

Mark Haines and Stephen Colbert? One was precisely what you saw on air, the other a comedic parody, but with similar aim and goals.

Except that while Colbert goes for “truthiness”, Haines went for “truth”

The man was never fazed, although sometimes he would lean back in that chair with a characteristic look of disbelief.

“Did that guy really say I what I think he said and with a straight face?”

Mark Haines obviously respected the intelligence of his viewers and the truth.

When was the last time you could say that about anyone on TV, where the superficiality is so overwhelming? In a “me me me” generation and industry, Haines stood out.

Definitely nothing superficial about him.

And yet, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, in obviously an unrelated post, the world goes on.

Yesterday my son left for Army basic training. I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer once my wife and I got back into the car. I did handle myself better when I had to make a late night run to his Army supplied hotel room to drop off his Blackberry recharger. It was like a bonus round for me.

This morning, when the news came, I had no tears, yet still a surprisingly overwhelming feeling of loss. The kind you have when you know there will be no bonus round.

Maybe it was the kinship over the New York Mets, maybe harness racing, maybe bringing Barney Frank down a peg or seven.

Whatever it was, he will be missed by so many. For me, it means that more of my TV watching will now become background noise. It never was when Mark Haines was on air.

I remember that when Szelhamos passed away, I was so grateful that my own children had gotten the great gift of knowing him.

Both of my sons are interested in investing, the oldest just having made his first entry into the markets last week. Neither are at the CNBC stage of their lives though and neither will see the likes of Mark Haines again.

Eveyone needs someone to be brutally honest with them and open their eyes. Haines did that every day. Reminds me of the scene in Moonstruck when Cher slaps Nicholas Cage in the face and says “Snap out of it”. Except that instead of being a single scene, it was day in and day occurrence

When Mark arrives at the pearly gates, I would love to see his take and the questions he slings at St. Peter.

If anyone can get to the bottom of what awaits us, it’ll be Mark Haines.

 

POSTSCRIPT: During an invited visit to CNBC in November 2011, I had an opportunity to see the sincere reverence with which Mark Haines was held by long time employees. What you see on the air, whenever his name is mentioned is the real thing.

 

 




POSTSCRIPT May 24, 2012: On the one year anniversary of Mark Haines’ passing, CNBC commemorated his memory, including showing his portrait that hangs in the New York Stock Exchange. On this day, coincidentally it was once again time to send my son for the next phase of his Army “Advanced Individual Training.” This time, a year later there were no tears. Time changes so many things. AS in the case of remembering Mark Haines, the on-air reflections evolved, but were no less touching. A year later, Mark Haines is still missed by many

 

 


Billie Jo McAllister and AIG Haunt Me

I was at the grocery store last week. I do that much more often these days, as I feel that’s the least I can do to show my thanks to my Sugar Momma. I’m usually prowling the aisles at about 4:18 or so, giving myself a couple of leisure minutes to leave home after the closing bell.


My wife still ridicules me, because I call it “Grocery Store” and not “Supermarket” or “The Market”. I also refer to our local grocery bohemoth, Giant, as “Grand Union”, a defunct chain that we left behind in New York nearly 20 years ago.


To her discredit, she refers to TV stations as “numbers”, as in “let’s see what on the numbers”. She also derides my reference to single family detached homes as “private houses”.


So whose side are you going to take?


But I grew up in a time when grocery stores didn’t have parking lots, nor product selection. Every woman pulling one of their personal folding shopping carriages looked like an old lady, regardless of actual age.


Now, everyone drives and those carriages aren’t even allowed in the grocery store, and you don’t have to be wealthy to live in a single family detached house.


But while mindlessly shopping last week and dutifully crossing off the items on my carefully crafted list, the ersatz overhead music was a familiar tune that I hadn’t heard in years.


Ode to Billie JoeRemember Bobbie Genrty? The big haired Country and Western singer who had a crossover song that made her, I think, a one hit wonder. That song was with “Ode to Billie Joe”, the sad song about teenage suicide and a hidden secret.


“Was the third of June, another sleepy dusty delta day…”. Does that ring a bell?


Well, I haven’t been able to get that song out of my head for the last week. Humming it, singing it and whistling all through the day, until I hear the expression “Stop, you’re giving me a headache”.


 


Today was another one of those sleepy dusty delta days in the market. It was unnecessarily hot, humid and boring. As far as delta goes, unlike other wizened options traders, I don’t believe in The Greeks.


The tease of some early upside was just that. A tease. As many other days in the past two weeks the optimism evaporated. Almost made you want to do something rash, but fortunately, I’m restricted to the basement and the windows have been filled in with cinder blocks.


Yesterday I was pretty excited about the opportunity to pick up additional shares of Textron, S&P SPDR, BP, Williams-Sonoma and some others that escape me right now, in anticipation of quickly sellng some weekly call options.


But the market just seemed to want to do nothing but jump off that Tallahatchee Bridge.


And you want to know what’s happened to my appetite?


To do so, you’ll just have to download the lyrics.


Truth is, I wasn’t fully into the markets today anyway.


For today was the day my youngest son was heading out to Army basic training.


On my side of the family, he’s first generation American. We have no military history in my own family. We were the people typically rounded up by soldiers, so it’s a very foreign concept for me.


There were lots of little things that needed to be done today that took precedence over the markets. As it was, I was still sore from moving him out of his off campus apartment and was dealing with themuscle spasms from working that carpet cleaner machine over one of the filthiest carpets I’d seen since my own student days.


Even though I know that I can easily enter my order criterion and have them executed without my presence, I like the thrill of pushing the button and the anticipation of watching the trade get completed. So not too much got done.


Today, I did make some early call sales in those SPDR’s and Freeport, but the others that I was hoping would materialize, never did, as the market was unable to survive that leap.


There was also that overhang of where the AIG re-IPO would price. WIth the government’s break-even point set near $28.60, it seemed likely that the whisper number was going to be $29. Why people slowly worked the closing share price to $29.60 is as unclear as the nature of the object Billie Joe and his girlfriend threw off the bridge before his fateful plunge.


What was also unclear was why I didn’t sell an AIG weekly call on Monday, when AIG was above $30, particularly when talk of a $29 price was already making the rounds.


Or maybe the fact that I didn’t just sell my AIG position outright haunts me, as AIG has opened the morning at about $28.30


What really haunts me is that I ignored the warning signs. WHy in the world would E*Trade be a co-manager of this issue? Maybe because no one other than a sucker would want to buy it?


Yopu certainly wouldn’t pick up shares to ingratiate yourself with E*Trade for a shot at their next “big IPO”.


I’m not even certain why I care so much about AIG. It represents only a small portion of my portfolio, but it haunts me and my 0.0023% of the current outstanding AIG float every bit as much as much as Billie Joe’s plunge haunted that nice young preacher, Brother Taylor.


But as opposed to the predictably melancholy outcome of a Country and Western song, tomorrow is another day. AIG may haunt me now, but could just as easily profess itself to me.


Either way, the Ode of AIG will someday come to its conclusion. These things always do. Yet, Billie Joe McAllister still remains a complete mystery and will for all time.


Life still goes on. Even though Papa caught a virus that was going ’round and died last Spring, and Momma (not my Sugar Mommma) doesn’t seem to want to do much of anything, it’s got to be different for us.


I hugged my child yesterday as we dropped him off at the hotel right outside the base from which they will be leaving tomorrow at about 4 AM. I know that he will be a very different person the next time I see him.


As it turned out, I saw him 2 hours later, as he called to say that he left his phone charger at the house.


Not so different. Maybe a little taller.


So tomorrow is back to normal, I’ll be carefully watching how the Ode to AIG works out and will try extra hard to squeeze some income out of these ridiculously priced stocks.


Billie Joe is lucky he never had these kind of problems.

Why Insider Trading is a Victimless Crime

 

Many years ago, I was still in high school, I was preparing to make a U-Turn on what was ordinarily a very busy street in The Bronx.

U TurnI’d made that turn many times in the past and I knew to really check in both directions before I crossed over the 2 sets of double yellow lines. Back then, I actually cared what else was on the road.

Then, as always, when I sensed the “all clear” I made my turn.

  

That time, was just like all the preceding times, successful.

As I settled into waiting at the curb to pick up my father, I heard an unexpected rapping on my driver’s window.

Startled, I looked up and there was a beat cop, back in the days when there were lots of foot patrol policemen.

I rolled down my window already shaking in my flip-flops.

The policeman looked at me and said “It’s not so bad that you made an illegal turn, but what’s bad is that you made it in front of me. Don’t ever do that again”.

With that, he let me go. Never even asked for my license or registration.

That incident colored my outlook on crime for life.

Well, that and Watergate, a concurrent event.

Fast forward 40 years and crime is all around. The particular crime that interests me is insider trading and it is once again a hot topic, as it has been in the past and will assuredly be in the future.

With the conviction of Raj Rajaratnam a couple of weeks ago, there was a flurry of weight jokes and lots of sanctimonious talking heads railing against the evils of insider trading. Sort of like Newt Gingrich tearing Bill Clinton a new one over some marital issues.

The more cynical that I become, the more I believe that catching a big gain in an individual stock is either due to blind luck or inside information, but I’m not upset at the likely prospects of the latter.

Theoretically, we all have access to the same kind of sophisticated data. We can all get our hands on different analytical tools. It’s not as if you have to go to the public library and tear out a page from the huge Value Line binder or find yourself in the position that someone else beat you to it.

Those days are gone. Every bit of information can be found somewhere and crunched on a laptop that doesn’t need to cost more than $300.

Egalitarian? You bet.

The problem, if any, is that there is a data overload, similar to what intelligence services now deal with, as so many streams of data come in, yet there aren’t enough resources to analyze the streams.

And with access to all of that data, as well as teams of research analysts toiling away in the background, we’ve all seen the equally qualified high profile technical analysts look at the same data and come up with diametrically opposing recommendations.

I know the old expression, in that’s what it takes to be a market. Basically some one has to be right and someone has to be wrong.

So consistently doing well in the market can’t be due to a sustainable intellectual process.

Dumb luck is another reasonable answer, but how random is that? Totally. That’s why it’s called luck and to believe that performance is due to luck is itself dumb.

So the only remaining alternative that can explain consistently good trading results in the markets is insider information and trading on that information.

At this moment, it’s not necessary to say that Raj allegedly had insider information. He had it. Despite what Newt says, you really do need to believe the video.

The difference is that while he had it, we wanted it.

And why didn’t we have the kind of information that Rajaratnam had?

Well, look no further than the tip of your own nose.

There’s no reason why any of us should complain about not having such information. We are each our own limiting factor.

Why could I not have gone on a path in life that would have taken me to those kinds of inner sancta? Why did I not become and then stay friends with high school classmate David Viniar who went on to become CFO at Goldman Sachs?

No one ever denied me those opportunities, I just never tried to take them. Could I have wined and dined those with the kind of knowledge that I might have found useful?

Of course I could. No one ever denied me that opportunity.

The essence of insider trading is that you had access to information that was not available to the general investing public. But really, whose fault is that? All it takes is the initiative to develop a circle of friends, confidantes and business partners. Anyone can get access to potentially helpful information.

Of course, the second part of the “crime” is that you acted on that information. Presumably if you made a profit as a result, you just might be the kind of guy that the SEC and Department of Justice may want to prosecute.

But who gets hurt when profits are made after trading on information that was never denied to anyone with the initiative to dig it out from among the avalanche of data?

No one.

And that’s because there was bound to be a loser anyway on the transaction. If anything, the Rajaratnam series of events indicates that what is so called “insider information” doesn’t even necessarily lead to profits.

Of course, I understand the concept of stacking the deck and how that may be inherently wrong. But the reality is that there is potentially an infinite number of such insider bits of data on any number of stocks occuring as a continuum.

People are always winning and people are always losing, regardless of their intellect and regardless of their connections.

While I may not have a choice in the degree of my intellect, I do have a choice in the development of the inter-personal connections that may add critical data points to the equation.

Rajaratnam hurt no one, just as a policeman recognized years ago that I had hurt no one by making that turn. 

Which brings me back to yet another victimless crime on that very same street in the Bronx.

You guessed it, I made another U Turn, once again pulling my car to the curb to wait and pick up my father.

Is it a crime if no one sees it occur?

No police in sight, since it was about midnight or so. As I waited for my father, I leaned over to unlock the door, at precisely the time that a very buxomy lady of the evening was walking by. She apparantly thought that I was summoning her for some sort of service. She opened the car door, sat inside and started talking.

The words escape me now.

I was stunned. And then I saw my father coming out the door, I was really at a loss for words. He peered into the car and saw a strange enough sight, for him to give me one of his patented fist shakes that meant “you son of a gun” and he proceeded to walk to the corner to catch the bus instead of interfering with my plans for the evening.

I’m glad that officer wasn’t there that night, although I think he would have given me the same fist shake and a wink.

As he should have.

 

 

TheAcsMan is now dealing dirty money at OptionToProfit.com