Fuld's (and Gregory's) mother Glucksman was paralyzed on one side, which contributed to the oddity of Fuld's speech. She and her mother live in an isolated cabin in the mountains of midtown. Technically, because she lives in a office, [has someone] cook her food, wears clothing and performs routine 'CEO' tasks, she is not a "wild child" or feral child. She seems like one to outsiders at first, because of her terror of strangers, people who demand an accurate pricing of assets, her ritualistic behaviors, and her unintelligible, idiosyncratic language. This language, called Fuldish by the doctors studying Fuld, is made up of English like phrases that are a blend of stroke-impaired speech and twinspeech, or twin language.
Senior management believed that if we announced our earnings and our capital raise simultaneously, then the market wouldn't freak out," said one executive close to the situation. But they'd misread the market's skittish state. "The problem was that not many people were dealing with the outside world. Dick didn't talk to outside, Joe didn't, the heads of businesses didn't," the executive said. "So no one had had a sense of how bad the news would be received.
To that end, Fuld would spend hours--HOURS-- holed up in his office practicing the Rubber Pencil Trick.
For months, Fuld had been searching for a strategic partner, but some wondered if he wasn't also in denial, still acting as if his fierce will could shape reality. "There would be times that Dick thought that by force of personality he could prevail," said one former associate. For Fuld, problems--no matter how large--yielded to effort.
He'd also run "drills." "Fire in the hole!" Fuld would scream and throw a hand grenade on to the trading floor. Barreling down the hall wearing a Reno-911 costume (the short shorts version, natch) because he couldn't find any WWII-era garb, Fuld would bellow "Move it or lose it, Blondie!" at Callan, though there was really no urgency, save for the fact that he had an exceptionally small bladder and was known to relieve himself, conservatively, ten times a day. Toward the end, when he felt people "weren't taking this shit seriously," Fuld took to placing land mines around the building.
To many employees, Fuld, even at 62, was the most intimidating person they'd ever known. "When he said something, you did it," recalled one. And now he urged people into battle. He got on the public-address system and spoke to traders. He even handed out some plastic swords.
Earlier: Dick Fuld Chose...Unwisely?