Taking profits is not a horrible sin. Taking profits is not the end of the world. Taking profits is not a sign that you have lost hope in

John Chambers

. Taking profits is not an assault to

Scott McNealy's

intelligence.

I don't know how many times I had to say this at the

Miami Herald's

conference, "Making Money," on Saturday. I had come down to keynote the conference and had agreed to answer questions from the audience.

All people wanted to know is why I believed they should take something off the table. I went over a million ways that I thought made it sound right. I emphasized that common sense dictates that you want to take things off the table. I made a point that people cannot afford to give it all back. But I was getting through to no one.

Finally I said, OK, that's it. Let's roll the video tape.

Procter & Gamble

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is at 120. You are sitting on a 70-point gain. You are looking great. You think that the ride is never going to end. P&G has said that it sees low double-digit growth as far as the eye can see. If you take something off the table, you will be squashing the American Dream and paying a huge check to Uncle Sam.

Now fast forward to Friday. The stock is in the low 50s. Now what do you have to show for this round trip? Are you proud of the fact that you would pay no taxes now if you sold it because you have no profits to show for it? Is that how you want the game to end? Is that what the stock market is all about? Finally, I could tell I had gotten through.

Finally, I had been able to portray the losses viscerally enough, palpably enough, to get it through peoples' heads.

And they dropped the topic for other pursuits.

Until I was walking out to the parking lot, when a woman shouted at me, "What are you going to do when it all comes crashing down? What's going to happen then?"

I looked at her and I said, "You don't think I practice what I preach? I have taken a ton off the table these last years. If they come for 'em I will always have something to show for it."

She seemed stunned.

Man, have the buy-and-holders brainwashed us.

I looked at her, right at her, and I said, "Take something off the table for godsakes!"

And I got in the car and went back to the airport to fly home.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. 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 invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.