A Foolish Interview with ccsmith Add to My Favorite Fools Add to My Penalty Box

Take me back to where I was.
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The Fool: Given a second chance, what financial decision would you like to do over?
ccsmith: Hmmmm....

I'm tempted to say "accepting that very first credit card, you know, the one that came with a free gift." But, I won't because, frankly, at this point I don't want to go through it all again.

It is true, if I hadn't accepted it, I wouldn't have dug myself a debt hole. But it is equally true, I wouldn't have learned financial discipline and dug myself out of a debt hole.

If I hadn't accepted that card, I wouldn't be the person I am, the one with a positive Net Worth and no debt whatsoever.

Thanks for the offering me the "do over," though.
The Fool: How do you define success?
ccsmith: Having sufficient resources available to do what I want when I want, and having the time and energy to enjoy doing so in good company.

How do you define it?
The Fool: What is your favorite techno gadget?
ccsmith: Femtosecond lasers are pretty Cool. Not exactly useful (unless you happen to be a chemist or a physicist), but pretty Cool.
The Fool: Tell us about Your Dumbest Investment... and the lesson you learned from it.
ccsmith: Ever tried to catch a falling knife?

I have.

'nuff said.

{Thinking about JDS Uniphase, purchased March, 2001 when it was all the way down to $18 from $150. It was a screaming buy. Really. Wasn't it?)
The Fool: What technology do you wish the world had but doesn't yet?
ccsmith: I would really like a standard issue United Federation of Planets shuttlecraft. Warp capable, of course. Unfortunately, I somehow doubt I'll live long enough to ever own anything that comes close.

So, I guess I'll settle for a coffeemaker that, five minutes before I get up (not five minutes before my alarm goes off, five minutes before I actually get up) will take itself out of the cabinet, roast and grind the finest coffee beans (flavored or unflavored, as my mood of the day dictates), transfer the fresh grounds to a clean filter, make exactly the right amount of coffee using the purest water and decant it into a fine, shower-proof travel cup of elegant design (light, no sugar), throw the used filter away, clean and dry itself thoroughly, and put itself away.

Hmmm.

You know, I think maybe I *am* better off waiting for that shuttlecraft!
The Fool: Briefly explain how you select stocks.
ccsmith: So, you want a 'brief' explanation, hunh? Okay.

Think "Anarcho-Contrarian."
The Fool: What's your favorite movie, and why?
ccsmith: Overall Favorite: "Citizen Kane." Because it's "Citizen Kane."

Favorite Cheer Up Movie: "The Princess Bride." If you don't understand why, I can't explain it to you.

Favorite Subtitled Movie to Inflict on the Unsuspecting: Juzo Itami's master work, "Tampopo." Because its not a "Spaghetti Western," its a Noodle Western.
The Fool: What's the best advice you've ever received?
ccsmith: From my sister, D.D.: "Just act like you know what you're doing."
The Fool: Is there someone to whom you'd like to say 'Thank You,' but never had the chance?
ccsmith: My fifth grade Science teacher, "Colonel" Brogdan, in Irmo, South Carolina. He told the most compelling stories, and somehow managed to link them into the lessons he was teaching. He was probably the finest teacher I've ever met. He was Certainly the finest teacher I ever had.
The Fool: What, in your opinion, are some of life's big mysteries?
ccsmith: Women.

For that matter, Men.

How I managed to become so incredibly cynical.

What you're supposed to call those little plastic thingies on the end of shoelaces.

Caffeine Free Diet soda (Why?).

Non-alcoholic beer (same question).

Why coffee never tastes as good as it smells.

Why large groups of intelligent and rational individuals will, as a group, nearly always respond to the unknown, unexpected, or unusual in a stupid and irrational manner.

Did I mention women?
The Fool: What's the most overrated idea, person, or event in our culture?
ccsmith: I really don't understand the entire concept behind people carrying around their own, individual, $1.00 plus, bottles of water. I mean, aside from the fact that there seems to be a resurgence in tooth decay problems among youngsters not raised on fluoridated water, am I the only one who has noticed that "Evian" spelled backwards is "naive?" (Have to admit, though, I'd dearly love to meet the marketing guru who came up with THAT one.)

***Okay, okay, having now been up in the higher elevations of the Colorado Rockies a couple times I will admit that carrying around a bottle of water is sometimes not only a good idea, but a necessary action. I still think the whole thing is overdone at lower altitudes, however.
The Fool: Describe your fitness program.
ccsmith: Full-Contact Power Lounging
The Fool: What has been your best work experience, and what made it so great?
ccsmith: Actually, I've had two jobs, both part time and both very similar, the experiences from which I wouldn't give up for anything.

First I worked my way through college pulling midnights in a 7-Eleven, keeping the floor mopped, the coffee fresh and the Slurpee machine clean. I learned alot about the world, people and life in that job. You see, everybody comes to the 'Sev', the late night workaholics, the early morning race track folk (there was a horse racing track just down the road), the drunks, the hookers, the travelers (both professional and the other sort), the cops, the addicts, the crooks and the lawyers, people in love and folks at war with each other. Lies were rampant, but so was the truth; because, folks will tell the most outrageous stories and/or their darkest secret to a stranger, in the middle of the night, if the coffee is fresh.

The second job was after college, a part time gig as a bartender in a Baltimore tavern (Leadbetters, Fell's Point [http://www.leadbetterstavern.com/ ]). The faces were different than at the Sev, the hours a little better, and the money much improved; but, pouring beers, mixing drinks and swapping jokes with the patrons wasn't all that great a leap, and many of those patrons seemed somehow strangely familiar.
The Fool: What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?
ccsmith: Fells Point (a Baltimore neighborhood with more bars per square inch than just about anywhere else I've ever been), on an unseasonably warm Halloween night, under a full moon.

Eventually, the cops gave up and just shut the streets down to anything on wheels.

It really can't be described. But, Lord, what a sight!
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