Today marks the fifth anniversary of my father's death -- and quite possibly the end of the firm he spent most of his adult life at, Bear Stearns. (Unlike my father, though, there is a chance that BSC will be resurrected.)
As I learned at my father's memorial service, Shumer had a favorite saying, "Bulls win. Bears win. Pigs lose." (I am equally fond of "When you board an aircraft, go to the left," though I myself have only flown first class a few times, and none of them with my father, and considering the current state of the market and my portfolio won't be doing so any time soon.)
Today -- and probably for a while to come now -- the "pigs" (whoever they are) are going to be squealing (or shakin' and bacon). Though all of the people I know or knew at BSC were not pigs, at least what I knew of them. Of course, my view or experience may be subjective, but I refuse to think ill of all those people on the trading floor (including "Ace" Greenberg) who literally embraced me every time I came to the office after my father died, who literally rushed over to see how I was doing, to share some fond memory of my father (who a colleague still refers to as "the Jewish leprechaun"), and ask if I needed help. They were there for me when many others were not. (Of course, I wish one of them had told me to sell what remains of my BSC stock when it was still in the 90s. ; )
None of us know how bad things will get. Hopefully we have or will soon hit bottom (for the mortgage crisis, the credit crisis, the dollar, and jobs) and things will slowly start to recover. But on this day, I cannot help but wonder, What would Shumer do? Even in the worst of times, my father had the amazing ability to stay calm and unemotional -- and not react rashly to even the most dire financial or personal news. Experience, he once told my spouse, had taught him well.
What would Shumer do? I wish to hell I knew. I could use some good advice.
ADDED 3/18: There are many articles and television reports available to those interested in Bear's fate (and those who hold shares or work there), but I thought this piece by "The Deal Professor" on the NYT's blog DealBook very informative, and a quick read.
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