Looking to ‘Leeward’ – a eulogy for share traders

At one point today, the losses which I avoided by bailing out of the share market 20 days ago were up to $90,000. Right now, they only stand at $85,000. In other words, the one decision to get out of the share market has saved me more losses than I have made from a series of truly awful investment decisions at various times since the GFC (some in the share market, some in other more speculative investment prospects which went south).

Some of the few people who have known me so long would recall that I used to have an intellectual indulgence (or pretension, more accurately) about 30 years or so ago for quoting T.S. Eliot. I think today, Chapter IV of The Waste Land is very apt:

Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,

Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell

And the profit and the loss.

A current under sea

Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell

He passed the stages of his age and youth

Entering the whirlpool.

Gentile or Jew

O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

Today is very much a day, as Coronavirus takes a grip on the world, for forgetting profit and loss, but particularly profit. It is also not a time for looking to windward, where the financial storm is raging so fiercely, but for looking to leeward, where there may be a safe harbour (if anything is actually safe right now).

I think I have waxed poetic and intellectually self-indulgent enough for one afternoon. I should either nap now or do another round trip to the supermarket to stock up further on tinned food and long life milk.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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