Posted by: stillironic | April 28, 2010

When Money Has a Mind of Its Own, Part 1

Crazy money. When you have a lot it’s like a good friend you take for granted. When you don’t have enough it’s as if your friend, tired of your carelessness, has kicked you in the butt and disappeared. She’s out there somewhere, but way beyond your grasp.

I’m now $51 richer. As a result of selling several orphaned gold hoop earrings at a gold party. Even 10 times that much would only buy one share of Google. I could buy 3 shares of Ford, but then there’s the service charge.

I can also count up all the money I have in my piggy bank. Wonder if JJ knows that I take change off his dresser and stick it in my bank. He has a bowl he fills with change. And the stupid bowl is full. So when he tries to add more change, coins fall out. Where they make a mess. So I tidy his dresser and swipe the coins. It’s called killing two birds with one stone. Or theft.

I bet there’s at least $50 in my piggy bank. That makes $101. Which equals 7 shares of Ford (+ SC). This is not high finance, except maybe for an 8 year old.

I wonder if I can buy on margin? Turn $101 into $1000. Then I could buy 75 shares of Ford. When Ford doubles from $13.14/share to 26.28, I could pay back the $900 and have $1,071 left or 40 shares. Now I have to figure out how to buy on margin and if Schwab will let me do it. It seems that with an MBA I should know how to do this stuff. Maybe this is what happens when you get an MBA online and not from Wharton.

If Ford loses money, I’d be fucked and have to sell stock to pay the borrowed money back. This is like gambling, minus the boardwalk and floorshows. Just saying. I’ve never actually been to Atlantic City to gamble.

Las Vegas I’ve been to, but the old Las Vegas of the 1970s. My first spouse and I stopped there for a couple of nights on a trip home to New York that started in Japan. We figured we’d never want to visit Vegas as a destination in itself. But in the olden days you could make stops during a plane trip without paying extra money.

We spent about 15 minutes inside a casino, like two people visiting a zoo. The artificial ambiance and cheap décor was creepy. If we stayed any longer would we gamble all our money away? On its own the money would fly out of our wallets and onto the roulette table. I could see the croupier raking up the chips. A croupier who wasn’t Clive Owen. And the money would be lost forever.

Then we rented a car and spent the rest of our stay driving around the desert and to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. The dry, late-June heat took my breath away. Desert temperature was 120 degrees.

Twenty-some years later, JJ and I stopped in San Juan on the way home from the Caribbean. We did a quick walkthrough of a casino. One dollar was lost to a one-armed bandit. And then we went off to find a restaurant called the Butterfly People.

You’d think I’d had a dad that gambled away all the family money. But I have no history with gambling. I just have a strange history with money.



  1. I did the whole margin thing in the late ’90s when you could throw a dart at a stock and make made money. Rode the market all the way up — then forgot to get off and rode it right back down.

    I, too, have a strange relationship with money. It doesn’t seem to want to date me for long.

    • Money doesn’t even ask me out on dates, though it does stalk me from a distance on occasion.

      I don’t know anyone who got off the ride in time. One friend sold all his stock then re-entered the market right before the crash.

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