For most of my professional life I worked fairly hard, never taking the typical route nor career plan, based on my education and training. Had I taken the typical route I could have retired long ago as I’ve always believed that there is a limit to how much anyone needs.
If my kids were younger and they would pose me with the question “Daddy, what do you do?”, I have no idea what I would say to them.
“Daddy sits on the La-Z-Boy. Sometimes Daddy presses the “ENTER” key on the keyboard. Then sometimes Daddy transfers money from Mr. E*Trade to Daddy’s bank so that I can buy cigarettes for you little cute boys to play with,” is how I envision my response would have been 15-20 years ago.
Although my kids knew what I did for a living when they were younger, there was really no reason for them to understand what I really did, especially since I also traveled quite a bit for work. Luckily, they didn’t ask many questions, oterwise I’d have to kill them.
That may seem harsh, but there’s a lot at stake.
Having a second family will do that. Since my Sugar Momma doesn’t read this blog, I can say that with reasonable impunity. Unfortunately, that second family didn’t come with many benefits, as all they did was pre-warm my rental car and make certain that I always got the same hotel suite each week, although at the time, that seemed pretty risque.
The best thing my other family ever did for me was making certain that when I arrived back home to pick uyp my car from the airport lot, it was always cleared of snow and ice.
How sweet was that? I tell you the guys at the Key West International Airport Park and Fly were the best.
As many hours as I put in, they were still nowhere near the number of hours that Szelhamos toiled away. Although he was proud of the income that I was making I always felt somewhat guilty that I could make more in about 2 weeks than he could make in a full year. No one shovelled out his car, either, although in later years, it was actually his car that I left in the airport lot.
To use the 1964 TV barometer mentioned in previous blog posts, in a great year, Szelhamos could buy a new TV every week.
During the 7 year phase that I flew twice a week and would see the same faces lined up in the Southwest queue I often wondered whether I should get one of those wrinkle free logo shirts. I often thought about creating the most bizarre little shirt pocket level logo and some oddball corporate slogan and web address. In hindsight, I can’t really understand why I never did so, other than the fact that it would have required some minimal effort.
I eschewed conversation so I never burst into spontaneous word exchange, but I was often on the receiving end. I guess I just have that kind of face or perhaps salesman have either a need to talk or just like to talk. EIther way the familiar faces would always ask me what I did and who I worked for.
I would just make careers up on the spot and at that time, my memory was pretty good, so that I would remember to whom I said what. Regardless of the story, I was always a lone wolf, never working for “The Man”.
On those occasional memory lapses, I clearly had just moved on to a new area of consulting expertise. Whenever someone asked me for a business card, I would tell them that I accepted new clients only by referral from exisiting clients that were on the approved list.
The inference was pretty clear. “You’re not on the list”.
There was no need for business cards. I almost felt like I was running my own personal Studio 54, except for a lot less drugs, sex and music. But I did get tiny bags of honey roasted peanuts and a complimentary soft drink.
Some of those guys even believed that my Southwest Airlines seat was designated First Class.
Which gets me to today.
My kids are grown. One is doing his own stock investing and, if the IPO market stays strong, will be well ahead of where I was at his age. In fact, I’d have to get a new indicator to replace the Color TV measure, as the Y axis couldn’t extend far enough to do service to my own earnings.
The other is in college and has both an entrepreneurial streak and a need to serve, as he just finished Army Basic Training and will be heading back for specialty training following the upcoming academic year. In itself, service is not a road to riches, but he will have many other interests to support his choices.
These days, I set a bad example for each of them, as I sit at home on most days my head askance staring at the monitor and my eyeballs awkwardly pivoted to also glimpse the TV. I’m afraid to look, but I think I’m getting La-Z-Boy sores on my backside.
What do you do, Daddy?
It’s almost embarrassing to say that I simply sit and wait for an opportunity.
On days that opportunity doesn’t come, we don’t eat, said the lion to his cubs. Of course, my cubs are moved out so that’s really not too much of a concern.
But before the shame and guilt gets too far along, there comes a day like yesterday, when driving my oldest son to his home, he asked me about this months’ options trading.
Unlike Sugar Momma, he reads the blog and knows that I’m in the hunt for a monthly options premium record, which I didn’t reach on Wednesday, either.
He’s stunned at how much is generated out of this La-Z-Boy, regardless of whether the market is up or down.
That also led him to observe that he’d never met anyone at the stage and satus in life that I currently enjoy, who is driving around such a loud piece of shit car.
Mostly because I couldn’t hear him over the noise.
So Wednesday just turned out to be another in a series of big swings, all occuring in the absence of any kind of noise. Since I had sold in the money calls recently on Deere, I was happy to see it take an early price hit. Maybe it did so in sympathy will Dell’s disappointing earnings. Dell, Deere? DELL or DE, seriously, how much different could they be?
For me, not very, as I tend to stay reasonably agnostic as to industry or sector. SUre, I know what they both do, but don’t really care. I have experience with both and that’s all that counts. In Dell’s case, it is one of the few stocks that I’ve bought that didn’t make money for me, either through capital gains or options premiums.
I bought Dell about 4 years ago after its first ever disappointing earnings releae. Back then it was about $35 and I thought I had gotten a great price. After three months I got my first lesson in the meaning of the expression “value trap”.
I swore that I would never but Dell again. I’m not a very forgiving fellow.
Deere on the other hand has rewarded me over and over, both on the stock and on the options premiums.
I know Deere will go back up. Dell? Maybe they should merge with Yahoo!. Then I’d only need to stay away from the single entity Ya-hell! instead of both of those dogs.
During the course of a typical month I find myself a;\lternating between hoping for up days and hoping for down days, all in the name of managing the covered calls and minimizing opportunity costs. With two days left in this options cycle I now am hoping for a sustained rise across the board. Most of my covered options are going to expire, so I’d love to see capital gains, at least on paper, complimenting the realized gains on the options premiums.
Next time, if my kids ask me what I do for a living, it’s probably reasonable to say that I sit around hoping for things to happen.
If only there was a Viagra-like solution, although looking at a screen filled with green just might have the same effect., except that I won’t need to seel medical attention after 8 hours.
If I’m lucky enough toi be around, I’d love to see the day that my own granchildren would ask their fathers the same question.
I hope that their answers are simple and to the point.
“I don’t really do much. I just watch stocks go up and down and cash in on other people’s greed, fera and envy”.
Now how sweet would that be?
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