Monday, November 24, 2008

Good luck, Mr. Gorsky
warning : Long post.

People always say, "You should have your money working for you."
I've decided I'll do the work......I'm gonna let the money relax.
Know what I mean? Because you send your money out there...working for you, a lot of times it gets fired.
You go back, "What happened? I had my money working for me."
"Yeah, I remember your money. Showing up late, taking time off. We had to let him go."

-Seinfeld, The stock tip.

Unlike Jerry, it won’t be easy for me to put all blame squarely on my money. Why, it was doing quite well last year. Not like it had suddenly developed a drinking problem or started doing drugs this January, which finally, would completely bring him down in October. Had I gone to his workplace to enquire, the response I’d most likely get should be, “Oh, we knew your money. Among the finest we had. A sharp kid, he was. None of his fault, actually. These are difficult times, sir. We had to close down the whole division he was working in.”

I know. This is all my doing. I should have called him back in time. “Son, that’s no place for nice people to be working in. I think you should stay home and keep warm under the mattress for a while. Heck, read something, get a degree if you will. I’m sure there’ll be openings for you at a later point.”

I have a friend whom for good reason I call the mad professor. He is somewhere in-between what you’d call piquantly eccentric and stark raging mad, leaning as far towards the latter as a demanding career in academics would allow. For apparently no fault of mine he insists on calling me the Corporate Honcho. Can’t imagine what I’ve done to deserve this. So, the other day, mad Prof calls and asks, so, how’s the Honcho doing? Had to tell him the Honcho is sitting on his haunches to closely observe the depths the stock market can plunge.

Have to mention another friend here. Now let’s call him Mr.Gorsky for reasons I’ll not get into until later. Like many a respectable bloke, he was patently skeptical of stocks till late last year. Then one day in cold January, the bug bit him. Everybody around him was making too much money too easily. He couldn’t take it any more. He was into a bit of liquidity at the time. As it happened, the market crashed down under the weight of his investment. It was like, he put some cash in, the stocks went down a little; he averaged, the market went mean. He sunk a little more, it dipped lower. In no time he was out of cash and the market, outside the standard range of deviation. Still our Mr. G was all tall talk.

“By January 2009 you’ll all see, the sensex will cross 25000.”

“I’m in it for the long haul, man, and I’ll clean up double my money in two years time.”

We used to snigger. This made G choose a quiet modus operandi. Every month, with his paycheck, off he goes, to throw some more good money after the bad. It would not be such a bad idea if he stuck to big blue chips, like every analyst on TV seems to suggest, though I don’t see them actually doing it. No, he is all into his Lando Infratechs and Warren Finances and God knows what other exotic stuff. In the matter of picking stocks, he blindly trusts his broker, who periodically feeds him all these tips. I know the broker; he is actually quite a nice guy, not a common trait among his tribe. Irony is, you can trust a nice guy only with things he has some control over. I tried to reason with Gorsky, “See, feller G, you can trust feller B not to defraud you or stab you in the back, but how can you trust him when he promises no rain on Thursday evening? Be reasonable, will you?"

By now I'm convinced bailing out Gorsky is the only bailout we need to put the economy back on track. We've discussed it among friends. We made an offer to G to raise among ourselves the amount he is in the red for, and let him quit at evens, if he promises to stay out of stocks. Doubtless it would hurt us all a lot in these tough times, but what's to be done has to be done. The economic situation can ease out only if G is persuaded to disinvest. But he would have none of it. He'd say, "Guys, don't you know, this money, quadrupled, would see my daughters through college?" And we'd say, "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky."

I think we should appeal to Mr. Chidambaram for mandatory implementation of the Gorsky bailout package. In case you don't catch the Gorsky reference, the original joke is at the bottom of this post.*

Since I started with Seinfeld, I thought it fitting to end it with another big influence from pop entertainment. But Peanuts was never big on economics. After much research, the best I could come up with was this:


*When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement but followed it by several remarks, usual com traffic between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control.

Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark "Good luck Mr. Gorsky."

Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck Mr Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.

Just a few years ago, (on July 5, 1995 in Tampa Bay FL) while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

When he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball, which landed in the front of his neighbor's bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. & Mrs. Gorsky. As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mr. Gorsky pleading with his wife about something and Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "Oral sex! You want oral sex?! You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

*Source : here


narendra shenoy said...

Enjoyed this hugely!

Sud said...


like the reference to blue chips, reminded me of names like BSC, AIG, FNM, LEH, C ...


Partho said...

@Naren: Thank you. I attempt to amuse. Then there's my new byline. Una poca de gracia.
@Sud : You still seem exceedingly bitter about the banking debacle. By the way, what's on your secret blog? I was curious cause India's shortly gotta vote once again.

Sud said...

well, my resume now reads of names that dont exist anymore, but thankfully gs still survives.

The secret blog, was supposed to give some gyan to ignorant amrikis and firangs about the real elections, but with the things the way they are, one wonders if one will have any time comment.

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