There are many young people who work in the stock market investing billions of dollars of other people's money. These young investment advisers have known only success, so Black Monday hit them very hard.
One I know personally is Baby Duckett, a blue-chip specialist who was handling the money of almost everyone in our neighborhood. On paper we were all millionaires and worshiped his investing know-how. Like most Wall Street advisers, Baby is 13 years old.
When the Slide for Life happened, I rushed down to Baby's house to find out what was going on. His mother was standing on the lawn with other investors.
"He won't come out, he's crying," she said. "He has never lost money in the stock market before, and he says it's unfair."
"He lost our money," I yelled. "How does he explain that?"
"He thinks what took place is that more people sold stock on Monday than bought it. When this happens the Dow Jones usually goes down."
"It could be a reasonable explanation," I agreed with Baby's mother. "Why didn't he sell with the others?"
"Baby doesn't know how to sell. He only knows how to buy. For goodness' sake, you can't blame him for what the market did. He's only a child."
"Two weeks ago I was a nouveau riche -- now I'm a nouveau pauvre. Baby has to answer for that."
The mother said, "Baby is taking this very hard. He told me he doesn't want to grow up in a world where people have a chance of losing money in the stock market."
"He can say that now, but he's the one who took us down the river with General Motors and IBM. Why did he pick those two dogs?"
"Baby never picked them," Mrs. Duckett said. "What he did was lay out The Wall Street Journal stock pages on the floor and let the cat walk over them."
"That's how he played the market?"
"That's how most people played it. For two years the cat couldn't do anything wrong."
"If I had known that I would have paid the cat our fee," I said. "I think Baby should come out." She yelled up to the bedroom window, "Baby, there are some people out front who want to see you."
Baby finally came out. His eyes were red and he was sniffling.
"Tell the nice people you're sorry you lost their life savings, Baby," his mother said.
"I don't want to."
"Be a good boy. They can't do anything to you because you're a minor, and any investment counselor under 21 is not responsible for losing somebody's farm."
Baby said, "I'm sorry I lost your money, but now is the time to buy because there are a lot of bargains around and this is only a correction, and Reagan is bullish and the German mark will never destroy the dollar, as long as J.P. Morgan is alive." He took a piece of chalk and started writing orders on the sidewalk.
His mother beamed, "The nice thing about investment advisers is they don't stay sad very long."