The Dangers of Boredom On Wall Street

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Let's take a step back from the Fed and stock markets for a moment to reflect on some history. Joe Flaherty was a legend in New York journalism. Drink was his muse, words his first love, and telling the truth his only paying talent. Of course he started his career on Wall Street. He began as a "squad boy" on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, where his job was to take recorded sales and send them up a pneumatic tube. It didn't last long.
Here's Joe describing his short stint on the floor in the late 1940s:
"Every morning I flew up the subway stairs at the Wall Street stop, sporting my Billy Eckstine-collared shirt and looking like a Dow-Jones Dumbo. Everything went quietly at first—tragically, too quietly. There were a couple of minor skirmishes with summer-working college boys who made remarks about my shirt or one of my ever present pocket books they dared put the knock on Mike Hammer!). The latter worked to my advantage, since one of my critics goaded me into reading James Jones From Here To Eternity, and a new world opened for me. But alas, enough was not going on. Even employing the fantasy of a wing commander sending endless bombers airborne didn't stem the ennui. So games had to be devised. The favorite was to write a bogus sale on a piece of paper—usually 2,000,000 shares of GM at 60 3/4 –and pass it to the new squad boy to skyrocket up the tube. Nobody ever fell for it till one day I found a true believer who sent GM soaring. I was fired immediately and walked to the subway hugging the building to avoid being flattened by leapers."

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