Guest Post by amigo Dinosaur Trader:
For Those Who Missed The Bottom
I’m not sure how Friday went for you but for me, it sucked. No, I didn’t lose money, it wasn’t that bad, but I missed the bottom in a big way. While HCPG and a bunch of other people I know were stacking money faster than you can say “comparative analysis” I was at a friend’s house, drinking some coffee and musing over what a shitty year 2009 was.
I thought I was being smart because I had made good money on Friday morning and then had dribbled it all away picking “the bottom” too soon. At around noon, I made my last losing trade of the day, in PCU. I decided when it started to pull back yet again that “the bottom” just wasn’t going to happen on a Friday afternoon. I congratulated myself with having the restraint to walk away instead of churning myself negative on the day and I head over to my friend’s house.
On the way I stopped off at the local hardware store to pick up some paint. I asked the guy mixing the stuff, a surly old man named “Kenneth” to use the “low VOC” stuff. He rested his hand on a nearby gallon of paint, looked down at his shoes, took a deep breath and looked at me, shaking his head ever so slightly.
“You’re not going to die of paint fumes, son” he said.
“Yeah, I know, it’s just that I have a small kid…”
Kenneth interrupted. “Your kid’s not going to die of paint fumes either. Look, let me tell you a story.” He drew in a hoarse breath. “You know how Mickey Mantle died? His father had some disease, Hodgkin’s disease, or Huntington’s disease, one of those.” He waved his hand in the air as if swatting away some imaginary mosquito. “Anyway, Mickey Mantle thought his entire life that he was bound to die of the same disease his father had, and so he used this as a rationale to go out and party. He figured, who cares if I have a few drinks, I might as well enjoy myself before I die of this awful disease.” He looked at me with a flash of impatience as he could tell I had yet to make any connection between his story and the “low VOC” paint. “Well, you want to know what he died of?” Here, Kenneth paused for effect and then he practically yelled, “He drank himself to death!”
“Okay, fine,” I said. “Give me the regular stuff.”
As I shuffled away with my toxic paint, he left me with one final bit of advice. “Just eat whole wheat bread and drink plenty of water and you’ll do fine.”
The story had shaken me up a bit. Perhaps Kenneth’s lesson was that I was too focused on certain details, and missing the bigger picture in life. I congratulated myself again on having the perspective to walk away from a crappy day in the market. “Maybe I’m beginning to see more of the big picture,” I told myself. I smiled.
The talk at my friends house over coffee was of perspective and how, as parents, aging parents, we had gained a lot of it in only the past few years. I left feeling good. It was 3:30 and I wanted to get home to see the last few minutes of trade.
I clicked on my monitors and sat down. My Tweetdeck was full of new messages including a direct one from HCPG, “You missed our epic bottom buys, all in real time. Dick!” “What assholes,“ I thought. I scanned through charts… everything I was looking at only a few hours earlier had ripped, simply ripped. All of that perspective I thought I had just gained went right out the fucking window. I was disgusted.
I clicked off the monitors and went downstairs to psychologically abuse my cat.
Over the weekend I did all kinds of research, calculating pivot points, drawing trendlines, etc. I told myself that I would get back in the saddle today and make up for missing the bottom. Instead, the market is fucking around, displaying less direction than Clay Aiken surrounded by a circle of men. I’m down a little bit and pissy. I told my daughter to steer clear of me, “Daddy is in a bad mood,” I warned. She looked up at me unafraid and said, “You better steer clear of ME Daddy, I’m in a bad mood too, my doll is sick.”
“You have a lot to learn about perspective kid,” I mumbled, wondering if the paint fumes had sickened her doll.
Anyway, if you missed the bottom, don’t go “drinking yourself to death” today. Go get some nice whole wheat bread, drink some water, and bide your time waiting for a better opportunity. What’s done is done. Don’t prematurely “off” yourself by letting anger and frustration rule your trading.