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..
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.