This weekend in Tampa, there is serenity where there should be madness. Cigar smoke from Ybor City should, by all rights, make the revelers smell like an Opus X. It just seems eerily quiet and a once impossible to get ticket can be bought for a few doubloons.
The NFL and I have formed a truce that is tenuous at best. In many years past, I have been quick to loathe fans who confine their viewing to the playoffs.
This year, there should be a refrigerator-sized helping of that type of hatred directed at me.
I didn’t watch a single down during the NFL regular season. Not one. Too much politics by athletes as spoiled as a pork roast left in the sun for a week.
Then we kissed and made up. It was a Michael Corleone moment: “Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.” Only I didn’t collapse and go into a coma.
Admittedly a college football junkie, I needed a football fix. I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I needed to be slowly weaned.
I have enjoyed kissing and making up with the NFL. My timing is impeccable, and the season will culminate this weekend in Tampa. The two best quarterbacks will take center stage.
I’m betting it’ll be a dandy. But I’m not backing up that prediction with any cash. I gotta go with Ted Knight’s (“Gambling is illegal at Bushwood”) Caddyshack line on this one.
For the bookies, this is like another Christmas. Lots of sane folks want to make insane wagers (what’s the over-under on Terry Bradshaw’s pre-game belches?).
If there’s an urge to gamble and immediately get a room in the poor house, Roy Larsen can get you in on some action. Legally.
More than 20 years as a Certified Financial Planner, saying Roy knows his stock market stuff is like saying Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes know how to read defenses.
A Temple graduate, Larsen fancied himself a future marketer and worked at a casino in New Jersey owned by a guy who fancied himself as a casino magnate.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump didn’t do so well as a gambling impresario and did a bit better in politics. He had a short shelf life.
Roy saw his boss infrequently and that suited him fine. However, he did learn that the stock market isn’t like betting on a football game. There’s really no money in instant gratification.
It’s a long-term gamble. There’s no smart money being bet or won in a quarter.
In a minute, abstract way, Roy is like those guys advertising their prowess and promising sure-fire winners on every game. The difference is he knows what he’s talking about.
I’ve known him for many years and a conversation is like talking shop with a physics professor. I can pick up a minuscule amount while getting neck spasms as I nod and act like I understand what he’s talking about.
I wanted to know about all the recent frenetic activity that revolved around companies like GameStop, Nokia and Blackberry.
Larsen explained and I listened, more confused than Nick Saban in a dance contest. Thank heavens this was a phone conversation. Otherwise, he would have seen me panic like it was 1929. I would have been embarrassed for him to see my eyes glaze over.
The best I could glean from our conversation is that some young hotshots thought they had devised a system where they would stick it to rich folks by running up the stock price of lousy companies. The big money investors had “shorted” the stocks, betting the price would tank.
Au contraire. GameStop rocketed to almost $500. But as is usually the case, that rocket fizzled and the stock closed on Thursday at $53.50. It’s a complicated game.
I have an intense hatred of yardwork, so while Roy was talking about hedge funds, I tuned out, figuring it had something to do with trimming shrubs. No matter, I still have no idea what a hedge fund is.
I would never try to repair my own car. I have to be able to trust the person who I beseech to “fix this” when my car is on the fritz. I have no idea how he gets my car running again.
That’s Roy in a nutshell. For me, he always made things better. He specializes in teaching patience to older investors and providing peace of mind.
His website www.investinretirement.net will contain no get-rich-quick info, nor will his upcoming book. Just solid strategy that just might come in handy if things get whacky in the next few years.
And it’s a safe bet he’ll not be betting on either the Chiefs or the Bucs.
Mike Tasos’ column appears every other weekend. His pick: Tampa 38, KC 28. But don’t you dare bet on it. He can be reached at email@example.com. He is also on Facebook.