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Memoirs of a Minyan: Reality Bites


The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.

Editor's Note: "Memoirs of a Minyan" is a first-person account that follows Minyanville founder Todd Harrison as he weaves his way through Wall Street and beyond. This e-Book will publish each Wednesday over 18 weeks. Click here to read previous Memoirs chapters.

Chapter 9: Reality Bites

It would be easy to dislike Jim Cramer if he didn't have that childlike giddiness to him.

His warmth and generosity were treasured occurrences and when they appeared, animosity magically dissipated into a melting pot of goodwill. I didn't understand the mood swings at first but when I finally did, it was with empathy rather than acrimony.

It was the middle of the trading day and we were actively moving merchandise back and forth, steadily filling our coffers with profits. I can't tell you exactly where the averages were but suffice to say the mood on the desk was intense as the market slid down a slippery slope.

"Hello, can I speak to Todd Harrison please?" the voice on the other end of the phone asked.

After a brief exchange, the bomb dropped. The call was from the Maui Correctional Facility regarding my father, who managed to dig himself into a deep hole.

As I sat back in my chair and listened to a person I didn't know, I discovered my father was homeless, abusing drugs and in solitary confinement. It had been ten years since we last spoke.

Ten years. A lot happened in my life during that time and evidently, a lot happened to him as well.

As the head trader of a large trading operation, I was intellectually agile and able to make quick, emotionless decisions. On that random day in 2000, I was suddenly numb to the flickering ticks that surrounded me.

Jim, immediately sensing something was wrong, motioned me to his office behind him.

I walked into the glass-enclosed room and sat on the couch across from his desk. Jeff filed in behind me and asked what happened. I explained the situation, or at least what I knew of it. Jim didn't skip a beat. "Go to Maui," he said, "Go take care of what you need to take care of."

I'll never forget that moment. We were in a dogfight in the middle of a financial implosion and the most competitive person I knew urged me to go to Hawaii. By the time I digested what he suggested, he was already on the phone making calls on my behalf.

He contacted an investor in our fund who had connections in Hawaii. By the end of the day, I retained one of the most respected lawyers in Maui and had flights scheduled.

All that was left was to face my father and conquer my demons.

The Other Side of the Rainbow

Not wanting to take the trip alone, I asked my brother to join. Two days later, Adam and I landed in Maui and drove straight to the lawyer's office.

We had both given up on our dad but felt compelled to do something. He was our father and we were the last line of defense.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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