James Cramer's Tribute
CNBC wanted him to come on television after the close, and he had come to work wearing some wacky Hawaiian shirt no doubt picked up from that great vacation of his where he made that intraday call on the site that the market had bottomed at Dow 9000. (Yes, Bill always made great calls.)
Unlike the rest of us, who would have panicked and bought a suit at Brooks Brothers on the way over to the New York Stock Exchange for the interview -- worried what others would think of us, Bill didn't care what he was wearing. He was all about having fun and doing well for clients at the same time. He was about making Wall Street interesting, literate and dynamic. In a business of many faceless people who come to work every day, do their jobs and go home, he was, in a word, a character. Guys like Bill made you think you were doing something good and interesting and fun when you worked on Wall Street. If you weren't having fun, Bill could make it fun. He was that persuasive a character. I wrote him when he got back from that TV interview, saying that he had established a new dress code for the rest of us television folk. He told me not to get carried away, but that it wouldn't be such a terrible trend. Again, he made me smile.
Not long after we started TheStreet.com, Bill reached out to help us. He liked what we were about. He wanted to write for us. I had always read Bill's daily stuff from Cantor at my hedge fund and I couldn't believe he would give it to us. It was such fabulous insight and I was afraid his clients would get mad that he shared it with us. He said he was willing to do so because he wanted to see us win. He said we shared his values of trying to tell it like it is -- not always bullish, never dishonest -- and we made things more accountable and more exciting. Like him, we weren't owned by anybody, especially investment banking. We made working on the Street better, and that's what he believed in.I, like many others, took Bill for granted because I got to know what was on his mind every day from his column rather than talking to him directly. You didn't need to; that's why his morning installment was so great and will be missed so much. When Todd Harrison took his recent vacation, I was thrilled to see minute-by-minute-Meehan. He had Todd's spirit and another set of intelligent eyes. Of course, I didn't think I took Bill for granted until last Tuesday. He was integral to my every morning, though, as someone I read to challenge my own views. When Bill was bullish, I wanted to be bullish because of how well he argued his case. When he was bearish, what the heck, how could I be such a confirmed bull? He was too good to bet against. If Bill did a particularly good column or if I disagreed with his piece but thought he was more on point, I would admit it in my column and immediately shoot him a collegial email. He would always shoot one back. Immediately. With some witticism and some kindness beyond just business. That was his way. Damn email. I would have talked to Bill so much more if it weren't for email, and now I miss that I didn't. And I miss that I won't. At our synagogue last night on the eve of the Jewish New Year, our rabbi asked us to shout out the names of friends and family that we'd lost that day. There were so many names, it was frightening and I was glad we had left the kids at home. I felt honored to yell out Bill's name. And I feel honored to have gotten to meet and work with him in his short time on earth. Oops, wanted to cry as I wrote that. Could feel it coming on. Nope, no can do. Not with that picture of him in my mind wearing that funny floral shirt. He wouldn't want us to remember him in any other way than with laughter. God bless your soul, Bill. God bless the Meehan family.