Bad Czech

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Well, Friday could have been a really terrific day, but it was fairly well trashed.

No, the market didn’t do the damage. The market was just fine (indeed, as usual, the only complaint I’ve got about my trading is taking profits far too early, particularly with my options positions – – – – my options ideas have been doing great). It was a bad experience here in Prague.

The plan for the day was simple: have a really nice breakfast, go up to the Prague castle (a short ride from here), and then have me get back into my pseudo home office in our suite by 3:30 p.m. to tackle an exciting trading day.

The breakfast went according to plan, but then it was time to head to the castle. I suggested we take the city tram, which is an electric street car that goes all around the major parts of the city. My wife has never been so keen on public transportation (sometimes sketchy riders; plenty of b.o.) but I prevailed upon everyone to really participate in city life, be a sport, and just hop on the tram.

Big mistake.

It turns out that pickpockets make a steady living frequenting these trams. Unknown to us (until it 0801-pickpocketwas too late), one of them artfully unlatched the two latches of her satchel and slipped her wallet out, complete with driver’s license, cash, and credit cards. She realized this after we were heading to the castle entrance and discovered her wallet missing. Suffice it to say it was like having a nuclear bomb dropped on the day.

Instead of a pleasant tour, we spent hours dealing with calling credit card agencies, cancelling cards, going to the police station, and calling the bank. The amount of cash stolen was tiny (like forty bucks), but the inconvenience was massive. I would gladly pay a thug five hundred Euros just to beat the living shit out of whoever did this, just so I could watch.

When I was at the police station, waiting for Prague’s finest to finish up the paperwork, a young woman sitting next to me also seemed to be dealing with the same problem. She was a 20 year old woman from South Korea who just had about $1,000 in cash taken from her own purse. I spoke to her for a while, and it turns out she got her cash taken on the exact same tram line as we did. Again, bring me a thug – – – I need to express my feelings about criminal activity.

This entire episode will color the balance of the trip, even though the financial loss is miniscule. It also threw a wrench into my trading day, since I missed the first full two hours of a pretty exciting trading session (which, for me, was grueling), so I felt really “off” in the flow of trading for the portion of Friday in which I did manage to trade. So the day as a whole fairly well sucked.

In any event, no one was harmed or threatened, but I seriously don’t see how people who steal for a living can sleep at night. I guess in their heads the people they are victimizing are so abstract or meaningless that they just don’t care. It’s a pretty sad state of human affairs. I’d have much rather just handed whoever it was the forty bucks and saved myself the agony.