Weather Forecast


A hot stock tip from Shorty

The stock market has been in the dumps so long, I've almost quit studying it. Almost. Truth be told, even those of my friends who used to nonchalantly bring up the subject of their individual stock purchases have quit. They were so sly about it, too. I miss those sly little conversation starters: "Oh, there goes a Harley. Have I told you how well my Harley Davidson stock is doing?"

Yes. You have. You're getting rich. I bought boat anchors, they went down so quickly. Even boat anchors hit bottom eventually. Mine are still falling.

My neighbor, a savvy guy, Shorty Buylong, who, like most successful dairy farmers these days, not only has a bathroom in his barn decorated right out of Modern Homes magazine, but an office, too. There's a fax machine, a computer, and a wall street printer connected right to the commodity exchange. And pink curtains. This is a modern man. While I fixed his bulk tank refrigeration system for him, he asked me if the refrigerant I was adding to it was on the stock market, and maybe shouldn't he pick up a buy option on it, and hedge it with a short position on pork bellies.

Who eats pork bellies anymore? I asked him. He looked at me funny.

Then, later on, he waved me down on main street, where we backed traffic up as is customary while he told me that there were 17 ways to get rich on hog bellies. (I say customary as in it is customary and acceptable for farmers to back traffic up in small towns and rural roads like water before a dam. Only farmers are allowed to do this.)

Seventeen ways? Stock market? I thought all farmers needed to know was the quickest way to borrow money from the local banks?

There were only five or six cars and trucks backed up, so I explained that all my yuppie friends were disappointed in me because when they brought up profit and loss analysis, I wanted to talk about reruns of Barney Rubble, "Gunsmoke," and "The Price is Right."

"Shorty," I begged, "what stock do you think I should buy."

"Weeellll," he surmised, "buying into the market is a very personal thing. Exactly what do you want from this stock?"

"I dunno. Maybe something with a lot of growth potential, something that gets bigger and bigger."

"I see. You're into expansion of your assets; something that stays flexible, yet fool proof; gets bigger while you get bigger, so to speak?"

"Yeah, that's it. Expands with me. But don't forget the part about sensitivity. I want that, too."

He said, "You mean like something that responds to your needs, feels good, that?"

"Yeah," I replied, "that's it exactly." I think. Sensitivity, for the gender that produces the occasional booger eater, is difficult to comprehend. But I want it.

Shorty paused a moment. Dairy farmers have to bathe and pull cows' teats night and day; consequently, their hands get real chapped, and so does their general outlook on sensitivity. Maybe this was too much to ask. Finally Shorty said, "Yeah, everybody's into this new-age sensitivity thing these days. You're saying that, through your stock purchase, you want to experience a satisfying continual transfer of sensory input?"

Shorty's brilliant about this stuff, what'd I tell you. I asked him not to forget that this investment had to be something I could share with someone who was close to me.

"OK, let me summarize," Shorty said, "you want a stock that interfaces with external stimuli. It has to be socially sensitive. It has to give you increased pleasure. Right?"

"Wow! Shorty! You've got it. That's exactly what I want. You've really convinced me you've got a handle on this. How do you do this?"

"I think I know what you want, is all. You want this investment to maintain complete integrity through ups and downs, plus, it has to be easy to get into, 100 percent safe, and it cannot let you down even through times of fluctuations in sizing. You want, in short, this stock to feel like it's a part of you."

"Shorty, you're incredible. Now I know that I called the right guy about this. So, what stock do I buy? You sound like you have something in mind."

Shorty replied with absolutely no delay. Didn't even have to consult his computer. He said, "There's only one stock that's going to fit you like a glove, like a second skin, like it was a part of you, that handles fluctuations, that makes you feel good, that's flexible, that's easy to get into, has a 99-percent-plus guarantee -- 'Carter-Wallace.'"

I said, "Really? C'mon, tell me quick. What do they make?" All these things from one stock. Hard to believe.

He replied: "Condoms."

Maybe I won't tell my friends quite yet.