Bob, the Suicide Trader, A Lesson in Ego

Part 1 (Bob, Suicide Trader)  Scroll down

Part 2 (Bob, Suicide Trader)

Moral: Don’t let your ego crush you.

My Experience

John Chew: I was once a pit trader at the Open Board of Trade in Chicago (MidAM, today)

Yes, that type of pit. I remember the other traders nicknames like Little Man (the guy was 6′ 4″ and 310 pounds), Dog Face, Pretty Boy, Ice Man (He traded 1,000 lots of Bonds or $100 million of US 30-years bonds at a crack), and Sun Tan (An Albino).

Never will I forget when an older trader clutching his chest, crumpled into the center of the trading pit while having a heart attack. No one moved to help, they were too busy trading. In fact, side bets immediately went up for $500–was he or wasn’t he going to make it out of the pits alive.  “For God’s sake, is anyone going to call for an ambulance?” a female trading clerk screamed.

I knew one trader (Joey D) who took $4,000 up to $370,000 in six months during the 1988 bull market in soybeans. He used leverage upon leverage and caught a massive bull run. He was going to get married but the trend changed. Joey D knew enough to take losses but buying rallies and selling dips in a choppy market is a losing strategy, but momentum trading had been imprinted upon him during the massive rally in beans.

As his account dwindled, his self-worth declined perhaps even faster. As he said to me, “If the account goes to $0, then I will be worth $0. Got any way to commit suicide painlessly? I sat at the bar explaining that it was only money; take a break and besides, killing oneself ain’t easy. Joey said that he couldn’t pay for the wedding; he would have to postpone; his fiance left him three weeks later–“I guess adversity wasn’t her thing,” Joey lamented.

Joey D’s fears began to mount until he finally blew out and had to leave trading for himself. His last day as a pit trader (local) all the other traders gave him a wide berth like he had leprosy since most traders are superstitious. I asked him how he felt and he said, “You know, I have never felt so free and relieved in my life. I feared this and I feared that. My fiance left, but perhaps that was a good thing. Who needs a gold-digger? The sun still came up, the birds still chirp and the Cubs are playing today at Wrigley. Most of my problems were all in my head.

Joey left to work as a broker before two years later returning to a successful career. Hope you are well Joey D.


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