I FOUND OUT
Broad Street doesn't mean much in a city that's
down and out. As they say in the stock market,
every loss is broad, and every death is broadly felt.
The tall man with the edge in his collar, he's standing
at the bar now with the shakes. Says he just lost 133
thousand dollars in an afternoon. I don't believe him
a minute, though I offer condolences - just to see if
he'll buy me a beer. But then I realize it's backwards.
In this situation, I should be the one buying him. It
never works out for me, these sudden deals, either.
I offer my sorrows, and ask about his kids. He says
he has three, all in grade school, and they're depending
on him for their futures. College. Career. All that stuff.
He doesn't mention a wife so I don't ask - and then I try
to explain it's probably all just paper losses, losses on
paper, at the bottom of a column; not real dough. He
doesn't get it though. Then I want to tell him his kids
will not have a career if all he can offer them is careening
money, up and down, back and forth, a fool's game with a
secret language. A shibboleth, so to speak, of secret deals
and phased out losses; money-matters, like hemorrhoids,
stuff that only hurts when you sit down to talk about it. But,
I let it go. Here, today, I've got the money, and little to lose.
I buy him a Red Hook Brewery pale ale, and he gladly takes it.
I want to talk computers with him. interest rates, games, the
horses - anything to take this drudge of subject away from
where it's at. People have jumped out of windows for less,
I guess, but in today's world, what's a jump now worth?
Can't ask him that, for sure - 'Well, a, hey, then, how much
would it take for you to leap out a high window?'
Nah, I'd better not go there.