Friday, April 11, 2008

Sharking Yourself: Watching Stocks Drift By

Speaking for myself, I prefer TVs in the area of the poolroom where I am playing be tuned to ESPN or a MLB game. I’m a big fantasy baseball player and I’m interested in the latest scores and the latest news. Distracting? No, I don’t get wrapped up in the action, I just passively glance at the screen now and then between turns. And, I’d like to think the majority of pool players are sports fans just like I am. Unfortunately, they’re not. Preferences in the poolrooms I frequent include soap operas, the animal channel and, God help us all, Fox News. To be honest, I like it when someone I’m playing has their eyes focused on the closed captioning during a match – they’re not into the game. But, it’s when opponents sit with their eyes glued to stock quotes as they slide across the screen, especially in the midst of today’s troubled market, that I get the urge to double up on the bet. How can anyone concentrate on a simple game of pool while their money’s going down the drain?

Not that I’m not interested in the market. I am. To tell the truth I’ve got a considerable amount of change invested in the market. The key word here is “invested.” I’m not a day trader – I’m in for the long haul. When the market does bounce back, and it’s bound to, the funds and stocks I’m invested in will bounce back with it. I’m as confident in that as I am in the fact that sun will come up tomorrow. For the record these are the funds I’m invested in: DODFX, FAIRX, GABAX, MERDX, RYOCX, VEXMX, VFIIX, VFSTX, VTSMX and VWIGX. I did a lot of research before I made theses investments and I’m confident that in the long run they are going to do all right for me. I don’t have to watch the minute to minute or day to day fluctuations in price. In fact, I’ve developed the habit of checking the closing prices only once a week, on Fridays after the market closes.

So, to sum things up, if the competition is all wrapped up in the market or in the jabber of Fox New’s talking heads, I don’t mind a bit. In fact, I encourage it with some well placed comments of my own, like “goddamned liberals,” or “the market’s in the crapper again.” It’s a good thing if their minds wander away from the game – good for me, anyway.

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