Okay, so I get into the cab, San Francisco, after a total marathon of company visits,
promotions and trading, and I'm dog tired. I always hate to ever admit that I am tired, heck, I think it is easier for me to admit that I am wrong than I am tired. At
, somewhat notoriously, I scream at people who yawn, and charge people who sigh in tired resignation. This time, though, I'm beat. I just want to get to the airport, get the red-eye over with and get back to my trading turret.
But I've been spotted. Yeah, my newfound celebrity status has betrayed me at a moment when I, quite frankly, want to grab some zzzzzzs.
"Hey, I know you. You're Cramer."
I don't have enough hair to be confused with
, so I knew that I would have to look sharp, be on and ready, because I was about to enter my own private version of "Buy, Sell, Hold."
After the obligatory discussion about how funny
is and the usual banter of how much
and Joe must really dislike me -- they don't, in fact, get this, we are friendly! -- I knew it was going to happen. And, I prayed so hard that it would not be speculative, that it would be blue-chip, or franchise tech, or great balance sheet banks. But it never is. Nobody ever asks you about
"So what do you think of
I know right then I could have said, "Homey don't play that," or something smart-assed to show that I didn't feel like talking. But my mother raised me different. She never taught me how to diss -- probably didn't even have that word when she was alive. Manners to a fault, please.
So Global Marine, buy, sell, hold.
Hey, I don't really do this individual stock stuff, I protested. We whiz by a sign for
Park -- expenses still a problem there, I think to myself -- and I know we are nowhere near the airport.
"Do you own Global Marine?"
What am I going to say to this guy, no comment?
"Well, I'll tell you," I said, "I don't much care for the drillers. They had their day in the sun. I like the bluer-chips, you know those
types. Maybe the drugs on a pullback." (Hey, he watches
, you can use a little lingo.)
Nah, he says, who knows how long those stocks can stay up there. "Those stocks are dangerous As long as I am alive Global Marine will be a good solid safe stock to own."
And then it hit me, as it does so many times when I speak to anybody about stocks, it's the history. People don't know the history. They don't know what has happened in the past. They don't want to know.
During my horse betting days, I used to look at past performances for my $2 all the way back to maiden claimers at
. I would research bloodlines. I once went to see the offspring of
on a hunch that I could make a fortune if I could just see young ponies horsing around at Lexington.
But when it comes to stock, people don't even want to know how the last outing went. They don't care if Global was "hung" at the stretch or "tired" with six furlongs. Most important, they don't want to know that Global Marine has gone under my lifetime. Twice. That when I was at
in the '80s we used to joke how Global Marine stock certificates didn't make good wallpaper because there wasn't enough stick'em on the back of 'em.
They don't know that Global Marine is as risky as they come. Remember, this is a key distinction. My cab driver, an educated man who takes the night shift so he can watch Squawk Box on
, certainly had no desire to buy risky stocks. But somehow he had gotten it into his head, with the help of some money manager he had heard on TV, that Global Marine was safe.
I asked him if he were a trader. He said he sells as soon as he has made some good money but that he was underwater in Global pretty badly. But he said he heard the guy on TV saying he expects Global Marine to come roaring back the moment oil prices rally.
Sign for South Daly. Getting there.
"Would you think about buying Disney after the split?" I asked.
"Nah, all of those theme parks, very worrying," he said.
This conversation is why most people I have met have never made a dime in the stock market. My cab-driving friend did not know a thing about Global Marine other than it was a pristine blue-chip driller. I did not have the heart to tell him that Global was so shaky in the past. But, when we got to the
terminal, I could not resist. I urged him to be a tad more conservative, that Global Marine would not be considered a "safe" investment in my world, wherever that is. I could tell that, despite his professed enjoyment of my TV rap, he would have just as soon listened to me as he would the man in the moon. That last guy he listened to on TV had more sway.
So I did the only thing I could, I pleaded with him not to double down. And he laughed, and told me not to worry. Buy some yourself, were the last words I thought I heard him say as he handed me my bags. It's going higher.
Thanks to Dan Case and all of the terrific
Hambrecht & Quist
people who made our opening of our West Coast bureau such a smash. You'd think some of these other firms would realize that the way to get the story out is to have
in on the presentations.
And as I was in the city of the late great
, thanks to Cory Johnson for a swell party, and those terrific people from press, Web and finance who joined us in making it so special...
Only disturbing note: seeing all of the people walking around at H&Q with passed-around printouts of my column. You want to keep reading this column? Pay up for a subscriber ID and stop passing it around. Ten bucks, I mean, give me a break.
Oh, and for the record, the wife says she can trade
better than anybody, still.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-chairman of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund is long Cisco, Intel and 3Com, although positions may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Mr. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback, emailed to