Lessons Learned from the Bar

Unless you leave a lasting impression on me, I won’t remember your name. That’s just the honest-to-God truth.

Let me tell you the story of three important people who did happen to leave a lasting impression on me. These three people came to my favorite bar over the course of 60 days. This establishment only seems to move forward with time and more expensive with every new height. In this dim-lit room, you can find antiques and memories of every era, spanning from the Great Depression to the pandemic’s rubble.

Unless I’m having a really good day, I’m never really the first to start a conversation. I normally don’t talk to strangers, so I knew it was a risk going into each conversation. But, no risk, no reward, right? Prior to meeting these three people, you can overhear each of them as they talk to the patrons around them. Which might be why they all stuck with me. They all have an innate ability to draw people in: They are Connor, Brea, and Chance.

The first was Connor.

Connor is a pretty social guy. He’s very talkative, and he appears most frequently out of the three. He’s not always a favorite but his relationship with the staff is uncanny. You don’t have to be a genius to know he’s probably going to show face, but when he does, most of the crowd isn’t pleased. I told you, it’s a strange relationship. 

However, he’s actually kind of funny. When our paths finally crossed, he broke the ice first by asking me, “what’s the deal with plant people?

He let me know he’s here perhaps once every two weeks. He’s sort of an open book.

Connor just shows up to blow off some steam, no real damage is ever done. By the end of the night, Connor has had his fill. I gave him a nod and he assured me I’d see him in a couple of weeks.

Now by the time she sat in the chair next to me – Brea, an eclectic mix of emotions – I had already gotten the inside scoop on her deal, being that she has a toxic, on and off, relationship with her boyfriend. All is fine until one small issue arises, blowing everything out of proportion. And because of that, she usually ended up here.

She’s never truly at this bar for one evening and afterward back to her usual self. Brea is a bit of a binge drinker. So you can find her here for at least three consecutive days. 

Unlike Connor, our conversation was much deeper. By the end of it, I think she could still see the incomprehension on my face. She said to me, “this kind of love didn’t come, nor will it go away overnight.” I tilted my head. “Even though we butt heads like two rams trying to prove his worthiness for a female companion, he sees the other side of me. My insecurities, without me verbally expressing them. He can tell when I’m not myself. When I’m just impersonating who I want to be and when my ego has reached ground zero.”

Throughout the span of these couple of months, each visit perhaps summed up to a total of twelve days. Things only get worse when Brea hangs out at the bar long enough to start chatting with the most important person in this story. Coincidentally enough, her name is Chance.

I know her the least out of the three. And from everything the bartender said to me, she hardly ever comes in for a drink. But when she does, you know it’s bad.

Despite my inability to connect with her, something about Chance gave me a sense of familiarity. You see, the same thing that brought her here is the same thing that brought us all to this bar. Life. Maybe greed. The need to just consume more

Her last notable visit was in the early 2000s. At one point, life was good to her. Her newest career came with endless amounts of small promotions and bonuses that only resulted in her ambition growing wider and hungrier. 

But this didn’t stop her from taking even bigger risks. Like an excavation team with over certainty that fossils can be found here, digging deeper and deeper to just scratch the itch for one more promotion. Every pay-day she would buy up everything in sight with credit. Credit here, credit there. At this pace, the promotions didn’t seem to stop, so there seemed to be no need to pay off the people she had borrowed from. With the smell of ambition on her breath, she always told them, “You know me. I’ll get you back later.”

It all went to hell by the late 2000s.

There hasn’t been much from her since. She did briefly come by in March, but before you knew it she was in and out. 

The bartender left me with something to take home and digest before I could even come back to this bittersweet bar. He told me, “we don’t simply call on Chance (the same way we can rely on Connor to be there).  We simply endure her while she’s here. Despite any inconvenience these three may bring, we need them. They make this entire place more interesting and because of that, they bring new life to the bar.”

I picked up what he was putting down. Illustrating that the more the new crowd visits their newfound place of euphoria, the more likely they are to run into these three characters.

As you probably guessed already, all these characters represent what we call risk in the stock market. Corrections, bear markets, and of course Chance… well, we know Chance. The sixty days represent what we have learned from the last 72 years the stock market has been around (adjusted down for the 50 years the Nasdaq has been around).

The stock market is made up of two groups: Buyers and sellers. Some have rules and a lot have emotions. 

Chance was also created to represent all of us. As an economy and emotionally; They each move in cycles. We all have this euphoric period where everything is great and we feel unstoppable. Until real life sets in, we implode, and everything that seemed so sure comes crashing down. And this fall is much worse than Connor or Brea. This fall feels monumentous when it’s happening. This is why it can lead people to overreact, to do things they normally would not do.

If you’re invested in this market, it’s because you have a long enough horizon to be willing to take some risk. 

“Time horizon is all that matters during a correction… You see I don’t put money into risk assets that I’m going to need for spending purposes in the next 5 years or so.” – Ben Carlson,

What matters more than how deep or how wide the downturn is, is how you respond.

Thanks for reading. If you want to learn more about how to prepare for stock market corrections:

How Often Should You Expect a Stock Market Correction, Ben Carlson

It’s Ugly Out There, Michael Batnick

Are We Bullish Enough?, Nick Maggiulli 

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