Honk if You're
I went with my friend Cobb last weekend to an "investor breakfast". If you have never been to one, they are usually put on by a local brokerage or money management firm and are geared towards seniors.
While technically a senior, I'm 55, I like to go to these things because the breakfast is free. So when Cobb, who's 61, invited me, I was all over it.
The one I attended over the weekend was put on by Merrill-Lynch and Company (NYSE: MER), and just like the last one I attended the food was cold and the coffee was weak. The words "you get what you pay for" came to mind, but I'm a senior, and seniors like free.
At any rate, we ate, and then because we were a room full of seniors, we all had to head to the can.
It was kind of funny actually, because the local Merrill broker was trying to talk about all of the wonderful investment products Merrill had and how those products could help our investment returns, and all the while folks were getting up and heading to the can.
One of the nice things about being a senior is that when you get up to go to the can, everyone in the room knows where you're going and they try to time it so they are heading to the can about the time you are coming back from the can.
It's not the same when you're younger and just the saying "heading to the can" makes you laugh. I guess that's what the guy that invented Beavis and Butthead was thinking....hehehehehe, he said can.
So this Merrill cat drones on and on, and folks are starting to squirm because they're thinking they're gonna be late for their tee times, or their bridge club tournament is getting ready to start, or they need to be at the hair dresser to collect their wives, or whatever. They just know it's time to wrap this up and get on with their day.
Just as the silverwear rattling and glass clinking starts to end, the shifting starts. You know, shifting from one cheek to the other. Seniors do that alot it seems to me, especially when they are sitting in a chair that really wasn't very comfortable to start with. I know that once the shifting starts, things are gonna go downhill fast for the Merrill broker and so does he.
At any rate, the speakers words are now just one metronomic sound, the geezers are shifting and clinking and just about to stand and start for the exits when in a moment of complete genius on the part of the Merrill broker, in walks the temp hired to help with the "breakfast".
Since I've seen this act quite a few times, instead of watching the pretty girl in the very short skirt work the room, I'm watching all of the old duffers (as I said I guess I'm in that category) watching the cute young girl.
Her job for the moment is to hand out information packets, but I know that in a few minutes her job is going to change. Like I said, I've seen this act before.
As I rescan the room I realize she could be handing out used paper towels and it wouldn't have mattered. Here was a room full of old geezers with cash and that cash was just about to part from the old geezer's pockets to Ms. Sweet Young Thing's purse, and it was going to happen faster than the you could reseat your dentures.
So the information packets are being distributed and the Merrill guy is wrapping up his talk and nobody appears to be listening because they are all watching the cutie pie, when all of sudden the Merrill dude says that if anyone needs help completing their information packet just raise their hand and Vera, Miss Kumquat Valley of 2007, will be happy to help them.
Here's a hint, while we all think we get along pretty good, seniors don't really move to fast. I'm not sure just why that seems to be true, it just does. Maybe your feet flatten out as you get older, sort of like a tire on a car that's never driven.
So like I said, old folks don't move real fast, but brother let me tell you, when the Merrill guy said Miss Kumquat Valley would help them, hands went up around the room so fast that it generated a breeze! Made me wonder if the Space Shuttle had just been launched.
If you think I'm kidding about how much air was moved, the geezer guy across the table from me damn near lost his hair piece and the guy next to him with the comb over suddenly had three feet of hair hanging over his left ear.
All of a sudden going to the can could wait, and I found myself in a room watching pot bellies being sucked in so tight personal emissions were wafting towards the air conditioning return air. I knew that in a few minutes this was not going to be a fun to place to try and breath!
True to form, Miss Kumquat Valley just keep smiling and offering assistance, and, oddly enough, collecting checks. Hell, Miss Kumquat Valley could have gotten most of these old birds to swap dentures, trade supphose, and sing Amazing Grace if she'd wanted to.
Finally the information packets were complete, the breakfast was over, Miss Kumquat Valley 2007 is thinking about the commission she just made, the air has finally cleared up enough to take a deep breath, and we're leaving.
I notice Cobb is trying to wipe the drool off of his face as we head to the parking lot, which gets to wondering if the old adage a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush may apply as soon as he gets home. I mean old Cobb looks like he just ran a marathon. Personally, I'm hoping his heart holds out long enough to get me home.
Finally he pulls up in front of my house to let me get on with my Saturday, and as I get out the car, I hand him my information packet. He gives a questioning look as I explain that the information packet is the same one that Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) uses.
He tells me he isn't interested in Washington Mutual, and really wasn't interested in Merrill for that matter, but he had heard that the breakfast was okay. Of course I chime in tell him that Helga wasn't bad either, which makes Cobb grin.
But as I start to get out of his car, he reaches out and takes the unused information packet from me, saying that he guesses Vera wasn't to bad...and neither were her Kumquats.Wax