Walk of Shame

I’ve always loved that expression “the walk of shame.”

TheAcsMan Walk of ShameYou can sort of picture the antecedent events that ultimately lead up to that walk. There’s usually some significant disappointment involved and fantasies that were a bit misplaced.

Rarely do you hear people refer to their early morning “walk of fame.”

Sometimes the walk of shame comes as a complete surprise, but most of the time you know that it’s there just waiting for you. So much so that the people on the path even know your story even though they don’t know you.

They know and recognize the walk.

What inspires or leads up to the walk?

For some it’s alcohol, born out of loneliness, which itself may be born out of a need to belong.

Before the walk, most everyone fantasizes about how wonderful everything is going to turn out and then there’s the slow realization that not only will those dreams not come true, but that the road taken is one of destruction.

Most don’t set out with an aim of taking a path toward destruction, at least not self-destruction, at least not if they’re in possession of their sanity.

Of course there are always those they know full well that their actions are going to lead to the walk and then there are those that seem to welcome self-destruction and ridicule.

That really makes you question the very recent comments made by perhaps the only figure of credibility with a seat on the Board of Directors of Research in Motion.

Roger Martin, the esteemed Dean of the University of Toronto’s School of Management had some odd statements to share with anyone wanting to listen.

Martin joined the board at a time of corporate need, when RIMM was reeling from some stock options backdating scandals, the very same that had momentarily thrown a rare curveball at Steve Jobs, as well. He was the solid figure that provided credibility and support when it was desperately needed.

Now that credibility was needed again, Martin came to the rescue, but maybe those on the receiving end just didn’t interpret his message properly this time around.

Maybe they just needed to be a bit more receptive to the possbility, as Martin pointed out that “our critics are idiots.”

Had they been willing to accept that possibility, it would have been so much easier to understand that RIMM “had no choice but to run the company into the ground.”

That had to be a comforting thing for past shareholders to hear.

Of course, he was referring to the co-CEO’s who only recently had taken that walk of shame. Perhaps he was being omniscient in referring to the walk that the new CEO will be taking at some point in the future.

Martin fell into the category of one taking the walk of shame having paved the road with seeds born of denial and self-destruction.

But this walk of shame discussion isn’t really about RIMM.

RIMM is old news. Martin is irrelevant, especially after his comments. Besides, the real damage at RIMM was done a long time ago, perhaps not in terms of time, but in terms of stock value.

It’s about my walk of shame.

Sometimes you just need to recognize that the acts that you’re about to undertake, despite your better judgment, perhaps shouldn’t be undertaken.

In an overly obtuse way, that’s saying that you really shouldn’t do anything that you know to be stupid.

But least week that’s all I found myself doing, with barely a single constructive trade to be made.

Instead, it was all about selling puts, as I’d already outlined in detail over the past few days.

It’s not that I set on on a path of self-destruction. I certainly wasn’t under the influence of alcohol and I can barely say that the thrill and ecstasy of making the trades were worth it.

Sure, there were a couple of correct calls. The Chesapeake Energy options worked out and the Focus Media, Riverbed Technology and ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF shares  seemed to be going in the right direction, but then there was the issue of RIMM.

Deep down, I’m pretty sure I knew that it was beneath me to sell in the money put options on RIMM, but I wanted something and I needed something, regardless of the cost.

Whatever it is that I received in gratification was too little and too short lasting to offset the shame of the walk. The gratification came in the form of a premium and actually a short lived thrill when the in the money option became an out of the money option.

Then reality hit as those smart enough to have recently purchased their shares took advantage of the quick rally and locked in their profits.

The options premiums and the short lived price spike? Not enough to make up for the dream deferred.

My walk of shame actually begins as trading starts on Monday morning.

What kind of a moron walks around with freshly purchased shares of RIMM? It’s not like I could hide the fact by just not listing the transactions for all to see.

What makes the walk of shame so obvious is the fact that you can’t change your clothes or your appearance. How I’d love to omit the stupid trade. The one done just in the misplaced hope that fantasy would overtake reality and send shares of RIMM to its restored place of honor.

As if Apple never existed.

The sad part is that the walk of shame is usually done on a recurrent basis, almost as if the disappointment was the actual prize.

Schadenfreude. Happiness when things go badly.

Some people probably revel in being able to take that walk of shame, perhaps knowing that any successful venture then gets magnified well beyond its real importance.

Maybe they fantasize about someday taking that walk with a prized trophy by their side, just to show all those sneering along the path that it was all worth it.

In my case, there’s no sense of schadenfreude. I remember every losing trade and especially every poorly conceived idea.

But like so many that make that walk over and over again, I just don’t know if I’ll necessarily learn from the events of the past week. The lure of the premiums and the lure of the fantasy of being successful are so great that it’s hard to resist.

I guess that for those that do have to go through the walk of shame, perhaps the only thing they could really be faulted for is not having a back-up plan.

Like a reversible blouse or jacket. Maybe a new path back home so that they won’t be seen. Or maybe even a change of clothing.

Last week, I really had no backup plan to deal with a situation where there were no stock values to be had. Instead, I just went for the immediate gratification without regard to the consequences.

Although I couldn’t make stock prices seek out more reasonable and lower levels, I could have exercised abstinence until just the right stock would come along at just the right price.

This week I won’t have the same problem as in the past three weeks, in that I only need to replace about 10% of my holdings, instead of the 50-60%.

Instead of looking for new stocks to add, I’ll be looking for opportunities to rid myself of the ones that I currently own, the ones that have caused me shame.

Why did it have to feel so good before it felt so bad?



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