Clarity of Purpose

There’s an expression that combines “clarity of mind” with “clarity of passion.”

“Clarity of mind means clarity of passion.”

Having watched enough episodes of Dateline over the years, I’m not certain that clarity of mind is a necessary pre-requisite for clarity of passion.

Given my current state of pharmaco-reality, I’m not certain that I can negotiate the thought process necessary for the whole “necessary and sufficient” exercise. Certainly, you can possess clarity of mind, yet find yourself without the ability to recognize the passionate nature of anything.


People, even smart people, seem to know exactly what they want, and often it is passion for passion’s sake and they then concoct incredibly stupid plans in order to requite that passion.

If you have to look up the word “hubris” today’s Daily Dilbert won’t make too much sense, even if you look up its definition. Otherwise, it’s very funny, as usual in its simplicity.

Clarity of mind is certainly not pre-requisite for clarity of purpose, either.

Take the past few days for example when a kidney stone was making its unwelcome re-appearance.

My mind, which is usually quite clear and reasonably analytical, refused to recognize the symptoms, even though I’d gone through the lovely experience before.

The mind muddled the purpose, though. My purpose should have been to take steps to avoid exquisite pain, rather than to ignore the obvious and expect the irrational.

I spent last night and this early morning in the emergency room of our local hospital. Sugar Momma happens to work in the emergency department of that hospital and it was she that convinced me, as I was writhing on the floor, that I should bite the bullet and make the journey.

Clarity of MindNow, given that she works in the psychiatric section of the emergency room, deep down, I suspected that this was some sort of scheme for having me involuntarily commited.

I was ready to rally the rest of my family around me in my defense, but despite the pain induced delerium, I had enough reason left to realize that they wouldn’t have a lot of credibility.

At least I think this is my family.

Maybe Sugar Momma was right. She was especially questioning of my sanity, when while laying on the gurney, I was able to let the FourSquare world know that I was awaiting the joy of giving birth to a 7 pound delight.

But you may not be able to fault her for otherwise questioning the screws.

After all, why would a perfectly capable person sit on his behind all day long and sell calls on stocks that are rising for no apparent reason?

What kind of clarity of thought was behind writing calls on Visa or Green Mountain Coffee, right before each really hit their meteoric rises?

My purpose and passion were clear at the time and were one and the same. It’s just that occasionally the reality or signs leading one in the appropriate direction are either ignored or mis-read.

In hindsight, I can’t necessarily say that the decision to purchase shares in Amazon, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Netflix, in quick succession just prior to the previous earnings reports were reflective of clarity of mind.



Certainly, if you exclude the call options premiums, the performance of all three haven’t met my defined purpose.

“Making profits out of nothing at all” was the refrain always going through my mind. That’s a well defined purpose, just not always met.

While waiting for some final word on what was to come next, my concern was whether I’d be able to make it home in order to assume my La-Z-Boy position and trade, as the opportunities warranted.

Instead, laying in the emergency room I just kept hearing the physician say, over and over again, “Everybody must get stoned.”

Funny stuff.

In the past, I’ve not done well with physicians who thought they were stand up comedians, having received my first rectal examination from someone who had great reason for looking like Woody Allen.

No, it wasn’t an even more perversely behaving Woody Allen impersonating a physician. It was his cousin, impersonating a comedian while doing the exam, which was made much more unformfortable by the literal and figurative punchlines.

I was unable to find pleasure in neither the examination, nor the jokes. Again, anhedonism or the working title for “Annie Hall.” I don’t think that Dr. Gnarlfinger would have appreciated the reference.

I don’t know if this morning’s emergency room physician was making a joke about how kidney stones are inevitable or whether he was referring to the prescription for Percocet that he was pinning to my sweatshirt.

Or, it’s very possible that it was all an illusion, as the actual suggestion for that tie-in came from Lee Grindinger and I just felt a need to somehow work that in to the theme.

We’ll never know.

But I do know that Lee is a Forex trader, happily retired in the Virgin Islands. If he’s to be believed, he also enjoys running around in the nude during the winter solstice.

I would do the same, but I’m tired of getting those black and blues around my cankles due to excessive dangle.

Among the nice things about Twitter is that you can actually “meet” nice people, or in this case, we were “introduced” by TradeFast, another one of those nice people, but who does the investing thing for a living. He has to deal with people and their money. That’s not easy. I’ve saved a Percocet for him.

Ultimately, there was reason to believe that my physican was referring to pharmacological management for pain, as a prescription for the narcotic came with the usual advice regarding driving and the operation of heavy farm equipment.

What he didn’t tell me was whether I’d be in a proper frame of mind to responsibly trade stocks today.

It was bad enough that I’d already tried to barter the entirety of the prescription to E*Trade to offset trading costs, but I should have given up before asking whether I could margin the pills.

The one thing that I can say about the Percocet is that it made it much easier to discern Twitter sarcasm.

Maybe it was just coincidental, but a Tweet from Reformed Broker What’s great about this ADP report today is how perfectly it always confirms BLS numbers” was so much easier to recognize as having been sarcastic as the screen fonts seemed to take on severe skew.

And when did Twitter start talking Tweets back to you?

So trading didn’t seem like a good idea.

Mosty of the time, I take a very short term approach, especially now that the weekly options are so readily available.

This Friday, I expect to have holdings of just a few days assigned, such as Freeport McMoRan and American Express, in addition to others.

But one of the longterm plays, the Sirius Satellite Radio puts that I purchased in July, will expire in 2 weeks.

Lo and behold, it was up 10% today, putting it above the $2 strike price.

Now, Momma (not Sugar Momma) always told me never sell puts on a stock you wouldn’t otherwise mind owning. She actually told me that in Hungarian and was probably thinking in terms of the local Forint currency.

But still, that lesson didn’t go wasted on me.

Back in July, I thought that Sirius was a stock that I wouldn’t mind owning at $2 at the end of January 2012.

But now, as I look at the call premium for February’s Sirius $2 call, I’m not certain that I could justify owning the shares. WIth 6 weeks to go until the February options would expire, the $0.12 premium for the $0.04 in the money stock just doesn’t seem worth it.

But my drug clouded my just couldn’t make the logical decsion.

“Making profits out of nothing at all” was obvious, but buying and selling is pretty much like heavy farm machinery.

But who gets hurt if I make a bad decision behind the mouse?

Only my heirs, as I have no plans to spend the money other than perhaps for new racing shoes and an athletic supporter.

Hmm. Only for my heirs. Have you seen that motley bunch?

With my head spinning, yet the pain somewhat better, I realized that I neither filled the prescription nor had I taken the 1 tablet that I was sent home with, that the conspiracy theorists posit was given to get me hooked.


With that realization, clarity replaced delusion and I closed out the Sirius position.

Netflix? Yesterday’s rant, when it seemed the world lost clarity and instead focused on unfounded rumor? Eh, not so much, as it only gave back a small bit of yesterday’s unwarranted, not short selling fueled run-up.

Clarity is fleeting, as are strategies and profits.

Hopefully, the stone will follow the same path.



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