October 18, 2021
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert on investing. (Or money for that matter – I’ve got a hole in my pocket to match the hole in my head.)
But luckily for you, I don’t need to be an expert. Stansberry Research is full of experts… analysts, writers, and stock-pickers who are much more talented, informed, and savvy than I am.
And they just added another virtuoso to their investment advisor orchestra: Matt McCall.
You may recognize Matt’s name from all his TV and media appearances. One of his many accomplishments is that he’s probably picked more 1,000% stock winners (at least 40) than any other stock analyst in America in the last decade. And he’s made hundreds of other picks that have more than doubled.
No doubt you’re wondering how Matt knows which stocks to recommend to get such big gains… (Me too – and believe me, if knew the secret, I wouldn’t be writing to you right now… I’d be on my yacht in St. Barts.)
Fortunately for us all, this Wednesday, October 20, Matt is going on camera for the first time to reveal his method for finding huge moneymakers. He’s also going to share the name and ticker symbol of what he says will be his next winning stock.
This online event is free for all American Consequences subscribers, but you have to reserve your spot in advance.
You can also read about Matt, in-depth, in our latest magazine – published this weekend. We put him on the cover (our way of saying he’s truly a big deal), and Managing Editor Laura Greaver interviewed Matt for this month’s cover story. His rise from the rough-and-tumble outskirts of Philly to the inner circle of investment sages reminds us that the old-school American dream is still live and kicking. (Or alive and picking – stocks.)
Speaking of being alive, my story today is about the most responsible decision I’ve made in years… I played hooky from life for a week, basking in the banal ecstasy of doing absolutely nothing.
There’s an old Kinks lyric from their 1971 album “Muswell Hillbillies”, “If life’s for living, what’s living for?” And, having gone AWOL from life, I’m still not certain I know the answer to that cosmic question – but living sure as hell isn’t for answering e-mails.
Out of Office
I’d like to begin my monthly letter with an apology to Managing Editor Laura Greaver and Design Director Erica Wood (the two people who do most of the actual work at American Consequences) for getting my copy in so damn late.
Just as we were putting this issue together… I skipped school. I skipped without so much as a call to the attendance office saying – in an attempt at a high-pitched, female voice – “Hello, this is my mother… I mean Pat O’Rourke’s mother… He isn’t feeling so well today… Or tomorrow or the next day or the day after that… “
I played hooky from life for a week. Or maybe more than a week… I wasn’t counting. With no laptop, no iPad, no smartphone, (or cable TV or landline, for that matter), I wasn’t sure what day it was. I didn’t even leave an “Away” notice on my e-mail. Had I done so, it would have read something like, “If this message is urgent, call… Oh, heck, I don’t know… 911 or something.”
Funeral for a Friend
It began with a memorial service on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for my friend of more than 40 years, Winston Groom. He’s the fellow who wrote the novel Forrest Gump, and a lot of other wonderful stuff – eight novels and 15 works of non-fiction.
Winston, as a young lieutenant, was a veteran of some of the worst fighting in Indochina. In 1978, he wrote what was then – and still is – the best novel about the Vietnam War, Better Times Than These.
He was also a brilliant historian. History buffs, get off your buff and order some Groom histories. Maybe start with Kearny’s March, which is about the opening of the American West in the 1840s or Vicksburg, 1863 about the battle you think you know about until you read Winston’s account.
Winston died of a heart attack a year ago, but the memorial service was delayed because of COVID. Maybe this was for the best… Winston’s sudden death had gone from blinding shock to clearly perceived grief for the loss of the man.
The crying wasn’t over, but many of the tears were for the wonderful times we’d had with Winston. Not tears of joy, certainly, but tears from joy at least.
The toasts and the testimonials were good, plentiful, and heart-felt. And there was something I noticed as I listened and raised my glass. Winston led a hard-working life, with 23 books and a career as a reporter for the old Washington Star before that. But none of the stories being told were about Winston’s thousands of hours hunched over a typewriter sipping cold coffee and shrouded in stale cigarette smoke. The stories were all about fun that was had – rugby matches, sails on the Chesapeake, quail hunts, staying up late, and telling tall tales. The stories were all about playing hooky.
A new system shows which stocks could soon rise 100% thanks to a Connecticut couple’s catastrophic 401(k) loss.
And it was playing hooky with Winston that I missed most, too. I missed when we’d go AWOL up to my place in New England to shoot ducks, or fly the coop out to Winston’s beach shack in the Hamptons before the place was overrun by Bezosillionaires, or take French leave at Elaine’s literary watering trough in New York where, when 4 a.m. closing time came, Elaine would pull the window shades and serve the drinks herself.
Winston and I would emerge into the bright of day, a bit “over-refreshed” perhaps, but knowing – even back then… It’s fine to leave behind a body of good work, but it’s the good fun they’ll be talking about over your body.
Road to Nowhere
My wife and I had driven down to Maryland. The weather was splendid. (The weather in New England this summer and fall has been another word that begins with “s.”) The day after the memorial service, my wife found an Airbnb on the water. She said, “Do you have anything you absolutely have to do for the next week or so?”
F**k it all, I said, How about you? Her reply was less Anglo-Saxon and more printable but in concurrence on the key points.
For the first time in almost a quarter-century, the kids didn’t need to be driven anywhere… picked up anywhere else… or otherwise provided with immediate parenting.
Our middle daughter was off on her college semester abroad. Our adult (technically) daughter was home between changing jobs and therefore (theoretically) capable of supervising our remaining household high schooler and (for sure) bullying him into feeding the dogs and the chickens and taking out the garbage. She also made sure to keep him from getting into the gin bottle and refilling it to its original level with tap water.
(Not that he’d ever do anything of the sort… That was my trick when I was 17. My parents didn’t drink gin, but they kept a bottle of Beefeaters for guests, many of whom must have gone home saying, “Worst martini I’ve ever had!”)
But I digress… My eldest daughter and young son would not be at the top of the list if my wife and I were recommending cleaning persons to hire. But, on the other hand, how could kids do more damage to the house than they’d already done over the past 24 years?
Anyway, I believe our home insurance covers “acts of God,” which I consider kids to be. Because children, as much as we love them, are not something people would have thought up. If children were “acts of adulthood,” they’d be 30 when they were born, and we’d be the ones who took forever to mature. But I digress again…
Bliss is Nothing
My wife and I played hooky.
And what we did while playing hooky was what every busy person dreams of doing – nothing.
We sat in the sun. We slept until whenever. We read at least a dozen books between us. We talked, although by mutual consent about nothing we were supposed to be doing at home or at work. If somebody felt like it, there was a walk (my wife) or a nap (me). We didn’t buy a newspaper or turn on a radio or have a television. We didn’t make the bed. We didn’t cook. Our meals were all takeaway except when we were using up the cute, in the little shore cafés.
We had no other contact with the outside world. (Though I suspect a few surreptitious text messages from my wife to our kids to make sure they were eating something besides Cheese Whiz on potato chips – or, in the case of our daughter abroad, camembert on macaroons.)
It was heaven.
But it was humbling too, as I suspect real heaven will be. Should I by some chance make it there, I’ll see a lot of people who accomplished much more than I did… like my friend Winston, for one.
It’s also humbling because my escape to temporary heaven where I got to do nothing resulted in… nothing.
Life seemed to get along fine without me. Indeed, it seemed to get along a little too well, now that I think about it. Kind of the way school got along fine when I did play hooky.
Maybe a few people were mildly inconvenienced. I’ll know when I get up the courage to open the 174 unanswered e-mails in my inbox. But it’s not like the police were here when I got home with lights flashing on their squad car shouting through a bullhorn, “We’ve been getting all these 911 calls from the ‘Away’ message you left on your laptop!”
I phoned a buddy last night and bragged, “I just took 10 or 11 days off from the whole world.”
He said, “Maybe the whole world just took 10 or 11 days off from you.”
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