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A couple of years back, my wife got a bad case of appendicitis and (emergency?) surgery saved her life. It was a traumatic experience for her -- and for me. You see, after that episode, I started to feel all kinds of aches and pains in my stomach region. In fact, it seems that it was all I could feel; I had become super sensitive to every thing happening in my midsection. Finally, my wife couldn't take my constant worrying anymore and sent me to see the family doctor, which I reluctantly did. After poking everywhere, the doctor declared me fit as a fiddle. "You mean, these aches and pains are nothing?" I was amazed. "You seem fit to me. Was there something particular worrying you?" As he waited expectantly, I blurted out, "Can it be that I have appendicitis?" He patiently explained, "All the aches and pains you described are on the left side of your body; the appendix is on the right side." (Mmmm, he got a point.) He added, "No, it's not appendicitis, and if it were, you might not still be alive by now." I went home and would you know that all my symptoms disappeared as if by a miracle! That is, until tonight....

As I look at my stock portfolio tonight, those aches and pains have come back on the left side. Of my eight holdings, there is not one that has escaped unscathed. Has any fundamentals changed in these eight companies? Having carefully followed their declines in the past few months, the answer is, their business results are on track. In fact, some have reported tremendous earnings, and looking forward (because the stock market always looks forward), the future seems rosy. So, why (in a whiny tone)? "Why, Daddy?" My three-year old has suddenly started asking the WHY questions. No matter what I say, he asks, "Why, Daddy?"

"Let's go outside in the garden and play."

"Why do we go outside in the garden and play?"

"Because it's so nice and the Summer is so short up here in Canada."

"Why is the Summer so short up here in Canada?"

Oops, this is not going in the direction I want it to.

"Because we live in a beautiful country and .... "

"Why is this a beautiful country and why .... "

As we go through "conversational" twists and turns (all the while maneuvering the two of us outside into the garden), I end it with the magic phrase,

"Because I love you."

He is always satisfied with this answer and we move on to another "conversation."

So, why am I still holding my eight battered stocks? Besides not wanting to lose money and they are still great companies with wonderful potential and it's just a paper loss so far and my head feels like it's gonna explode from overanalyzing, I guess the best answer (as I write this tonight) is that those aches and pains are just on the left side only.

And, I guess in some ways, I also did buy what I "loved" (after proper research -- and yes, I will sell them when the time is right, even at a loss).

Here's wishing that your aches and pain are also on the left side only...

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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