Figure With My Finger

Why did I do it? So dumb. So unacceptable. So unlike me. It was totally out of character, where was the sensible me? So Gung-ho. Oh, Gung-ho? That is me. After all, the Gung-ho guy cannot forget nor forgive his greed in 1987. You’d think he would have learned not to repeat the massive losses from that Black Tuesday Crash. Lesson learned, you burn all your cash in a crash. Why did I not read The Intelligent Investor first? After all, if the Oracle of Omaha says Benjamin Graham is his guru, why ignore his book? At the time, I consoled myself. Aiya, a good lesson learned. I will be 29, in just nine days’ time. There will be lots of opportunities to grab later in life and this lesson will make me the wiser. The best time to fall and pick ourselves up is when we are just learning. Like a baby figuring how to walk. Like a young adult figuring how to manoeuvre the sharemarket. Before that fateful day, The Mrs and I enjoyed an exciting twelve months of weekend celebrations. Every week we made money from our trades, and every weekend we tried out different restaurants to celebrate our wins. Wins and losses, that was where we made the mistake. The sharemarket is not a casino, you do not win or lose! You invest and earn a healthy return on your capital. We amassed a tidy sum of profit from our hobby, it was equivalent to a nice apartment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. In one foul sweep, we lost it all. Never mind, it was a good lesson learnt, early in life. The legends of corporate Australia fared much worse. We saw the tall poppies hacked down from their pedestals, corporate raiders such as Robert Holmes A’Court, Alan Bond and Lee Ming Tee, the latter two subsequently jailed for their corporate crimes. But, time is the best healer of wounds, bitter memories eventually fade, and scars don’t hurt. The Gung-ho me lost another large wad of cash in the next Big Crash, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. I manly defended myself, hey, there is no economic logic why Aussie companies would be impacted by the misalignment of Asian currencies pegged against the US dollar. Urghhling, wake up, understand the futility of self justifications when The Mrs knows the money is gone. Two bitter lessons learned. Ah, I see the pattern, figuring out that the crash comes in cycles. 1987, now 1997. I told The Mrs, with prescient accuracy, let’s remind ourselves now. Come 2007 or thereabouts, if we still have vested interests in the sharemarket, we will get out before 2007, all of it. The Gung-ho guy did not remember his promise to The Mrs. So dumb. So unacceptable. He again lost a big chunk of the family’s savings in the Big Crash of 2008. This time, it crushed The Mrs. Caught in another Big Crash, the inevitable happened. The Big Clash. Urghhling! You said this, you said that. But, you still lost! She lost too, faith in me. I hope The Mrs doesn’t read this. It will bring back all the horrors of the five years after the Global Financial Crisis hit. It hit me hard. Unlike babies with unbridled energy and uncrushable hope, supple bodies and soft landings, I was by then past middle age. Past my peak, all the potentials that I could have been on my List of Potentials had already been scrubbed out.

Why did I not dig up the Tritch’s Chart that was given to me by a stranger, years before the GFC mayhem wrecked me? Tritch was the intelligent investor well before the book was written. He foretold the booms and busts from 1816-1927. His chart was published in 1872 and was later extended by an artist to 2035. It appeared in The Register on 21 November 1927. Mr Tritch, thank you. You will save me from the next horror, which is due any time after the 2019 peak. Given the escalating US-China trade war, the on-going violent protests in Hong Kong. Brexit, the extended bull run, Iran conflict, with the madman in the US, who is brave to say the bull run will continue ?.

Extrapolation of Tritch’s Chart to 2035

It has been two weeks since I sliced my finger with the sharpest knife in the house. Fancy a Gin and tonic? We have a bumper harvest of lemons and limes this winter. A good reason to slice a lime for a bit of zest. My three sons all learned a string instrument as well as the piano. I drummed into them from when they first picked up their instruments, at age five. You must look after your hands. You cannot press on the strings even with the smallest cut on your finger. When they grew up, the same message was repeated frequently. Careful with the knife. Handle it with care, always use it with a chopping board. Don’t throw knives in the sink filled with hot soapy water. You won’t see the knives lurking beneath the suds. Careful with the ream of paper, a harmless looking paper will easily cut your finger too. As a parent, I set a good example, always respectful of the kitchen knife. So, why did I do it? Why did I not use the chopping board this time? Holding a small lime and slicing it with the sharpest knife in the house was so unlike me. So Gung-ho! Go figure. Today, I finally had the guts to remove the two bandaids that protected my eyes from looking at the wound. The Mrs in her usual wisdom yelled out from the lounge, you can’t be a doctor! Little does she know, all the D’s in my List of Potentials were long deleted. It baffles me still. It was one action with the knife yet the index finger has two vertical cuts and the tip of the finger pad, partly sliced off. Go figure.

Who else cut my finger?