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Thursday, February 2, 2012


Pretty big news with Facebook going public.  I was texting with my friend Big Tom, asking him what he thought about it in terms of an investment opportunity.  Don't have that many friends I can talk about possibly purchasing stock options with.  Not even totally sure how it all works, the stock market, bears, bulls and all that, but Facebook (despite my wife's assertion) doesn't seem to be going anywhere (heathen).  I once dated a girl whose father watched Jim Cramer's Mad Money religiously, and that's how he traded, where he got his stock tips and advice.  Jim Cramer said buy, he bought.  Jim Cramer said sell, he sold.  I used to think this Jim Cramer must know something, since my ex's dad owned his own house and traveled a lot.  Then came the crash, and Cramer didn't look so smart.  There was that whole feud with Jon Stewart, which went on for a while.  To Cramer's credit he went on the Daily Show, and Stewart was pretty merciless.  Brutal, really.  Not as bad as the new asshole Stewart tore Tucker Carlson, but you almost had to feel bad for Jim Cramer that night.  He's just a dude with a TV show, who likes to have a little fun with over-the-top shenanigans.  Then again, if you took him too seriously, he might've cost you your house.  But who's fault is that?  (I think my ex's dad kept his house.  Can't say for sure.  We broke up before that.)

I don't do this on my own, investing; I have a guy for that.  It's fun to speculate though, play with money and try to gauge the market, like a real growed up.  We're not talking that much money, but I think I'd like to buy some shares of the FB. Spend enough time on the goddamn thing; I feel like I should be getting paid.

When I was done texting with Tom, I wrote, "Did you ever think all those years ago we'd be talking about stocks?"  To which he replied, quite cleverly, "Yeah.  Chicken stock."

This never ceases to trip me out.  Not just my having cleaned up and joined the ranks of the responsible, but the whole transition, space, time, geography, all of it. Like a character crossing over from one sitcom to another, different program, new network and time.  Was there.  Now here.  "The part of Joe is now being played by..."  I mean, there I was one night, I was just a normal guy.  And there I was the next night, and goddamn, I was still just a normal guy...

There would've been no reason for Big Tom to think we'd ever be talking about stocks, or about anything ever again.  Last time I'd seen Tom I'd attacked him from across the room for not giving me $13.  I'll never forget what he said after he pinned me to the floor (I was smaller then).

"Here," he said, thrusting the $13 in crumpled bills into my hands.  "I had no idea you needed it so bad."

It wasn't a compliment or even a kindly act.  It was pure pity bestowed upon the wretched.  I'd had no claim to that money other than I knew he had it, and I needed it to get high.  He didn't owe me, or promise to "help me out."  He had it.  I needed it.  Therefore, I decreed it should be mine, by whatever means necessary.  Christ, I'm lucky the guy even takes my calls now (let alone plays bass in the band, man).

When I came back to San Francisco after getting my Master's down in Miami, Rich and I had gone to see this drummer I know play up at the Grant and Green.  I moved back and was living with Rich, who, understandably, was skeptical.  I mean, the last time I lived with Rich hadn't gone so well.  Rich would later confess that he was worried some of "the old gang" might be hanging around.  Which seems funny in retrospect, since I don't think a single friend came to his house when I lived there. Simply put, I didn't know anyone anymore.  It had been years since I lived in SF. There were still friends spread over the city and surrounding towns, but there was no hero's welcome.  Taking a break from the show at the Grant and Green, we grabbed a coffee at Cafe Trieste and I ran into Big Tom.  First time I'd seen him since attacking him for 13 fucking dollars.  At least 10 years had gone by.  Where did the time go?

The reoccurring theme this week, hell most weeks, has been nostalgia.  I was talking the other day about how any time looks brighter through the lens of retrospection. I'd like to issue a caveat to that and say, not this time.

My shrink, Doctor Harold Goldberg (doesn't that just sound like a psychiatrist's name?), says I have nothing to feel guilty about.  Of course, I pay him to say that, or at least to make me feel better about myself.  When I run down the list of all the rotten things I did to the people I loved, he says that's nothing unusual; it's pretty typical addict behavior.  Maybe.  But it doesn't make it right, nor does it absolve me of shouldering the appropriate amount of guilt.  I need to carry some of it.  I don't think I bear an unreasonable burden.  But I do shoulder the hurt I am owed.

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