I'm Baaaaack!

Surprise. GBS isn't leaving after all, you silly geese.
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Dear Readers:

Happy April Fool's Day! Or, in the inimitable words of the honorable

JJC

: "Hoo-hah!"

Yes folks, today's Charted Territory

column (a.k.a. Mr. Smith Goes Big Time!) was just a little joke. Or, as it's turning out, a big joke!

You see, I always play a little mental game when I log on in the morning, and try to guess the number of emails in my in basket. Good columns, maybe I have 35 by 6 a.m. Stinky columns net me only about a dozen.

So this morning I awoke a bit earlier than usual, and logged on about 5 a.m. Yikes! My in basket already had 110 emails, and every time I went to retrieve more, there were another 50 or so in the queue.

And I'll be damned if the email wasn't even more interesting than the column itself. So, if you're keeping score at home, here's a quick tally:

2:30 p.m.: 712 emails and counting.

Of that, roughly 660 bought the hoax. But, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, most were written like this:

Congratulations! Way to go, Gary! I would like to wish you luck with Smith & Wesson. I will miss your writings greatly, as they have put me on the path to successful trading. I have been working diligently on my methodology for the past two months. I have made great strides and owe you a big thanks for helping put me in the proper mindset.

Of course, a few people caught on from the get-go:

  • I can't help but wonder if this career change has anything to do with April 1!! Sorry, I just don't believe it! By the way, I enjoy reading you column.
  • Well, it was all set to go. I had prepared a long letter to Dave Kansas describing how Gary B.'s column had disgusted me so. His overflowing ego, hubris, all that. And then it hit me -- April Fool!

And naturally, there were a few doomsdayers, who I'm sure were well-meaning but scared the bejesus out of me:

  • Good luck with your new life and I suggest Victor Neiderhoffer's book for one of your coastal plane trips.
  • First of all, good luck. I do think you are in for a rude awakening now that you will manage REAL money and not your old piker account. It's a different ball game in the majors. A publicist, a track record the envy of the trading community, an office near the golf course, entertaining on both coasts, already counting the management fees? You should not be so humble. Market will take care of that, I imagine. You owe it to your readers to do a piece a few months down the road on the beginnings of your hedge fund. That is, if you haven't been 'smoked' by then. Best of luck.

Of course, most flattering, were the folks who thought highly enough of me to want to invest in my fund:

  • Very happy for you on your new venture. Now for the trick question: Are you open to investment from individuals, and if so, what is the ante? And how do we get the info on where to send our $$$$$$$?
  • I have several self-managed accounts at Fidelity now totaling $1.7 million. I would be interested in hearing more about your new fund.

And a few even offered their services:

  • I am a long-time reader and big admirer. I am also currently an analyst/trader/almost everything else one does in a hedge fund for a small hedge fund. Naturally I am curious to know if you will have any hiring needs at your new endeavor. I am extremely versatile and have experience with all aspects of hedge fund management. Additionally I am sharp, hard-working, a quick learner and above all have a tremendous passion for what I do. Please let me know if you'll be looking for someone to help mind the shop while you travel coast to coast.

Of course, not every apple is going to be sweet:

  • Mr. Smith's writings have always struck me as a bit self-absorbed but nonetheless relatively inoffensive. His evident enthusiasm and apparent goodwill compensated for these minor quibbles. I must, however, register a strong protest at the extraordinarily insensitive comment with which he concludes his swan song before heading off into hedge fund land. The parade of his petty dreams is tedious enough, but to speak of the dangers of being knocked off the front page of Newsweek by that "tedious Kosovo thing" is unforgivable. One can only hope that such hubris is appropriately rewarded. I like you and your columns, but your decision to leave thestreet.com on such short notice is quite frankly a very selfish act. Thanks to TheStreet.com, you are now well-known and have an opportunity of a lifetime. If it was not for TheStreet.com you would still be an unknown in your home like me (and I am sure many others). The difference is that I have not been given a forum such as TheStreet.com to share my thoughts with the world, so therefore Tiger Woods and other celebs and big money people do not even know I exist. But thanks to TheStreet.com they know you do. My point is that your decision to just up and leave TheStreet.com without writing a couple more columns, as they have asked, is a very selfish act on your part for the reasons stated. However, all this being said, I enjoyed your columns and did learn some things from you and I thank you for that. I wish you success in your new career.

And, some apples can be downright bitter:

  • Good riddance. "Tedious Kosovo thing." What an arrogant statement. And the Smith & Wesson name is a ripoff, too.

But I'll give every single person credit. (Well, except for the last reader.) No matter what they thought originally -- even if they were a bit on the, uh, aggressive side -- when informed of the hoax, the general response was along these lines:

  • Oh, what a goose I am!!!!! Yes, I have been had. Maybe the only time in my life I have EVER been April-fooled. Best of luck in whatever you decide to do. Glad you're sticking around!

But, my favorite? My absolute favorite? It was this one from an editor at

Newsweek

:

  • Mr. Smith: Unless you meant Business Week, somebody's blowing smoke here. Newsweek has no plans to run a hedge fund cover, and to my knowledge and that of my photo editor, we haven't photographed you. You might want to run this by your publicist -- not to mention your readers.

Newsweek

: Consider my readers informed! (Of course, the publicist angle will present a problem as, well, I don't really have one...)

So, anyway,

that

was certainly fun! And now that you know it was one big hoax, read through the column again. Does that pompous, arrogant guy really sound like me? (Multimillions a year -- just in management fees!) Well, OK, maybe it does just a teeny bit, but remember, folks: I'm the kind of guy whose idea of a big day is timing 20 heats of a 400 freestyle!

Nah, if I ever get too big for my britches, feel free to slap me around. No doubt, I'll deserve it.

Oh, and one other thing. You guys are the best! (Yeah, I know, get the hankies out!)

Regards,

Gary B.

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. At time of publication he had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. This column, Technician's Take, appears every Monday. Smith also writes Charted Territory, which appears every Wednesday, and TSC Technical Forum, which runs Saturdays and Sundays. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback at

gbsmith@ibm.net.