Wednesday, May 03, 2006

When I knew my sense of humor was different 

My dad first had me read the stock page to him when I was 7, teaching me to find the closing price and the change in order to learn fractions, just as he had taught me to play cribbage the year before to learn to count. I still do both, and indeed part of picking Mrs S. was that she liked these things too. A few years later I started watching the financial shows on PBS, which meant the Nightly Business Report (I still imitate Paul Kangas' metaphors for daily market activity like "investors went to the sidelines at mid-day") and on Friday nights Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. Rukeyser, who died last night, quickly became a favorite activity of mine. Here was someone who told witty puns and able to dissect the economy, politics and turn it into ways to make money. Particularly fun was the way he turned the letters to the panel into a pun-filled reading of the address (Owing Mills, Maryland, I can still recall as if it was last night.) While many kids played outside into the evening, I went home at 8:30 for WSW.

I had professors at St. Anselm who eventually persuaded me to go into economics, but the seeds were planted by my dad and reading quotes for Chemway (Dad's first stock, long gone now), and first nurtured by shows like Wall Street Week. Perhaps I became an economist because I had that same sense of humor.