Memoirs of a Minyan: Reality Bites
The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
He was a sick man, I again thought to myself.
It wasn't my fault.
Fitting the Pieces Together
On the one side of my life, there was a volatile man who swung between depths of despair and heights of mania. On the other, there was my father, who suffered from bi-polar disorder and exacerbated his illness by self-medicating.
As I discussed my father's diagnosis with Jim, he made a startling revelation. Cramer, as brilliant as he was, with his photographic memory, with his uncanny ability to retain information, suffered from a similar disorder. Jim assured me it could be treated with proper medication and offered a few suggestions.
Their lives were entirely different but a common denominator existed that bound them and by extension, me. Perhaps Jim's condition should have been more apparent but it's not something one looks for. The line between genius and madness is simply one of acceptance.
I wasn't angry or upset. In fact, following the awareness of my dad's affliction and Jim's benevolence in helping me navigate it, I developed newfound respect for the man I danced with daily. We connected in a way that is tough to describe; I got him and I suppose he got me.
I also realized that much like my father, his emotional swings weren't always preceded with conscious intent. As his friend, I found myself rooting for his happiness and wellbeing. As his partner tasked with managing $400 million of risk, we continued to battle over every dollar in our ever-changing P&L.
The constant vacillation took a toll, tangibly and intangibly, as we edged through 2000. Every day was a game of mental chess and we knew how to push each other's buttons, rarely if ever missing an opportunity to do so. Admittedly, my empathy sometimes took a back seat to the frustration that surrounded his seemingly haphazard decision-making.
There were two movies playing at the same time. The online relationship, where a loyal following watched our stylistic friction, drew huge traffic for TheStreet.com (TSCM). Inside the office, as we raced towards our payday, the never-ending soap opera repeated itself on a daily basis.
Our lead over the mainstay averages continued to grow and we were up twenty-something percent, 40% higher than our benchmark. Still, the success was bittersweet, as nothing seemed to satiate the intense desire to lengthen our lead.
In the back of my mind, I reminded myself of a subtle yet important fact. Our gains were on paper and didn't matter until they were locked and loaded; I wasn't getting paid until Jim signed the check.
After my experience at Morgan Stanley and Galleon, I wasn't about to take anything for granted.
Click here for the next chapter of Memoirs, "Sign of the Times"
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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