There was Amazon. There was Yahoo!. There was Intel. There was Cisco.
The stocks went up. And I smiled, knowing that I had invested wisely.
Someday, I told myself, I would be very, very rich.
And when I slept, I dreamed that I was making money. Even then.
The stocks split and they went up even further. I bought more. Dot
this. Dot that. I kept a portfolio so -- like some baron looking out
across his kingdom -- I could survey my holdings, my little friends.
While I played, they worked. While I worked, they worked even harder.
Together, we made a wonderful couple.
This compulsion was a passport of sorts, a license to engage in market
talk with my fellow investors. On the soccer field. At my kids'
back-to-school nights. At the gym. We were all part of the same team,
comparing our holdings, babbling on about IPOs and second-quarter
earnings and acquisitions.
"See how much Amazon went up this morning?"
I'd nod, knowingly, waiting for my turn on the bench press.
"And that new IPO, that Germany company that makes software or
something for Microsoft? Opened at 60."
Yeah, I'd say. Got some.
And then, one day, the market sobered up. Only I was too far gone to
notice. I'd hit Level 2 in my addiction: Day trading.
On the advice of my 17-year-old son, no less, I bought an armful of
some stock. Didn't know what they did. Didn't know where they did it.
Didn't know why they did it. But I bought it just the same, acting on a
recommendation from some obscure stock tip page.
The next day it doubled. And the day after it doubled again. I sold.
This was, like, so easy. Why, I asked myself, didn't I think of doing
The following week, my son and I revisited the stock tip page. The
recommendation was some Texas-based Internet company. Again, what they
did was irrelevant. That they'd never made a dime was of little concern.
I bought it.
It had opened at $2 and some change. My mysterious tipster from the
Internet predicted it would double, if not triple.
And it did. Right before I bought it. Four dollars and then some.
Within 30 minutes, it had slumped back to $2 and by day's end was limping
along in the $1 zone. By the next morning, it had burrowed downward,
trading at a pathetic 90 cents.