Thursday, April 15, 2010

Life...or something like that

The market kept up its frantic pace and never ending skyward march perhaps back to S & P 1500 eventually. It'll be interesting to see how today pans out (Friday) since GOOG got KILLED after hours, down $30ish and the futures are tanking right now. With GE and BAC pre-market we'll either get a decent size drawdown or they'll be enough to pull us back up. My bet is we have a down day, but hey, in this market ya just never know...

I like a few stocks higher here, though and will detail to clients over the weekend as we prepare for a bigger barrage of earnings next week. So far its mostly higher off earnings but GOOG could be setting the stage for a leg down in techville. BAC and GE will really lead the banks, and thus the S & P. Watch 1200 on S & P as pivot Friday and throughout Options Expiration day. Make sure to close out of your April positions unless you want to roll them over into stock, or May.

FYI, I will be sending an alert out to all those who have expressed interest in our 3-DAY OPTIONS INTENSIVE that I spoke about here recently. If you are interested please email me ASAP as I am planning it out. It's not cheap, but it will be worth it, of that I am sure...;

Today was one of those days where I had some clarity, or what seemed like clarity into the meaning of life. Or at least my life.

A project I'm involved in seemed like a really good match for an old friends business. I hadn't talked to Neil in probably 7 years or something, since he called me and said he saw me on TV late night, one of the infomercial showings years ago. Neil is someone who I used to do business with when I sold baseball cards. He is honest, caring and an all around good guy. He's the kind of person that you really want in your life because you know he's not looking for anything but good for you. Yeah, he's a businessman and runs a very successful wholesale business, but even when we did business and haggled over prices on stuff, we always seemed to manage to come to a mutually benificial deal. He left his ego at the door and didn't forget that we liked each other. We had a banter that wasn't typical of almost any other business relationship that I've ever had. We did business for roughly 3 years and during that time he always expressed interest in my life outside business. He was "worried" about me, that I wasn't married, and seemed to wander, my ADHD apparent. He invited me to his house one day and wanted me to meet his wife, his kids, and basically every relative he had, or close to it it seemed. Neil is a religous man and it was for the Sabbath that we gathered. It was odd to me, since I'd never done something like that with a business relationship. Never. Odd, but also wonderfully comfortable. His entire family made me feel at home. Now anyone who knows me knows I'm not very religious. I grew up kinda lost and, well, wandering, trying to find my way. My family didn't really know what they wanted, so neither did I. So, having a religous meal of any kind, regardless of religion, was a very foreign thing to me. Very.
We had a great meal, and Neil made sure to make me feel as though I was part of his family. In fact, he introduced me as a "brother". I'm not terribly sensitive that way, I tend to fend off intimacy at times, or at least used to. I think I've grown since that time, but certainly then I wasn't the type of man who would easily be vulnerable. Not in the least. Yet, it was the first time in a while that something like that felt good. Growing up outside the system, certainly not the product of the typical "nuclear" family, the notion of family never really had a context. It usually meant that alien beings had descended on my life and were taking me to another galaxy. Yeah, I'm exaggerating, but not by much, it really was foreign to me.

OK, so after I became "waxie" and somehow found myself trying to help people find themselves as traders, or whatever it may be Neil and I lost touch, until that day when he saw my show.

He told me he was proud of me, that he always knew that I would accomplish great things and that I need to honor who I was. Proud of me? Someone who I hadn't spoken to at that point for maybe a couple of years or so? Yeah, proud of me.

Now, I should note that Neil isn't that much older then me. I'm not 100% sure, but I think he is about 53 years old. That seems about right. See, the thing is, Neil really did view me as his brother. I have a brother I'm very very close with, but I accepted Neil's invitation. He used to talk about spiritual brothers and I have other people in my life I feel same with, so its easy for me to accept that as fact.

After that call we spoke and emailed a couple of times over the years, and I thought of him at times and thought of calling him several times, but as life or choices of life would have it, it just never happened.

So, today I called Neil to talk business, but also to catch up. The people I called on behalf of, besides myself asked me if I was sure if Neil would take my call and get right back to me. Yes, I was sure.

When I called his secretary picked up and asked me who I was and what I wanted. I said just tell him it's Michael Parness and that's all. She said hold on and about 60 seconds later a male voice answered the phone. I of course assumed it was Neil, though the voice wasn't his. Voice is one of those things that if you are connected to someone you just know them in a nanosecond.

No, it's not Neil. It's his son, his son Noah. I remember you, Michael. You are unfortunately a week late. My heart sank as I asked him "Neil passed away?"

His son replied that he hadn't passed away, he had a horrible stroke and is basically unable to move, speak or do much of anything. There is apparently little hope of recovery.

I was very upset and spent five minutes relaying my warmest wishes and asking if there is anything I can do. That's one of those questions that really has no answer to it, we say those things and mean them, but what could I possibly do, other then offer prayer and my best wishes.

Noah told me that he wanted me to know that his father often spoke of me, that I was one of his favorite people and that I meant a lot to him. Our relationship meant a lot to him despite us not speaking for years at a clip. He went on for several minutes, even after telling me that he had someone there and needed to call me back.

It's amazing how much impact we can have on others around us, often without even knowing it. I spent a lot of my time calling stocks, dealing with customers who are happy, sad, mad, whatever. I get emails sometimes from clients telling me I had an impact on their life. Today one of our best students, who's probably made more then me trading lately told me that she build her house at least partly with our help. I'm proud of that piece of "this". I'm proud that I can and have helped some. Not everyone, but some.

Yesterday my daughter and I were talking about this book that she had read, "Three Cups of Tea". I haven't read it, but it sounds like a wonderful story. The guy it's about apparently has built many schools in isolated places in Pakistan and Afganistan where women and the poor don't get what we often take for granted here, an education. None. My daughter heard me speaking to Michael H. who works for me at about my Haiti Project. Some of you know about it, and some of you have been generous enough to contribute. I think you for that. I'm working to build the best dang school Haiti has ever known. At least I hope to. And, to that end I've helped raise a nice chuck of money. We need more, but its a great start. So, my daughter said to me "daddy, you're like Greg Mortormer, the man from Three Cups of Tea".

I said, "oh, well, I just want to do things that you and your sister will be proud of me for." She replied that her and her sister were already proud of me, that I'm a great daddy and that's better then anything.

It made me tear up. There's nothing better then that, is there? Because if there is, I haven't found it yet. Having the love and admiration of people who you care deeply about. When Noah told me his father spoke of me often and was proud of me, it felt the same.

I hope I can live up to the belief's that others have in me. I don't know what success in life is sometimes. We define it for ourselves, but really I think it's how others define it for us that counts in the end.

Thing is, much of what Neil spoke to me about and wanted for me I either have, or am close to having, or at least know I want now. I thank him for that, I am grateful.

Have a good night all, market will open, market will close, they'll go up, and down.
Our lives have meaning if we allow them to have meaning, if we are open to there being more to life then whats on our mind in this moment. Sometimes I forget that, until I am reminded with days like today. We impact others more then we know, its something, I think, to be respected and nurtured.

I wish Neil and his family my heartfelt prayers. I'm proud of him, too.

No ruling tonight, just this.

Michael "Waxie" Parness


Eric said...

Michael, nice to hear your reflective and insightful comments. I hope all is well for you, your family and biz. Drop me a note once in awhile and let me know how you are doing. Things are great with my family...8 kids, 2 grandkids and a very kind rich life. Come visit us here in Utah!

apelofsky said...

Very touching. It CHANGED my opinion of you 180 degrees. Like in the Wizard of Oz you DO have a Heart. Nice to know.

Dr. P.

Hendry said...

a SuccessfuL trader n a familY man.
A tender-hearted man who is always moved to extend a helping hand. I am proud to have you as my mentor. Good Job