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It was a tough week and I took a hit – but not from the market.
“Dad, can we go to Comic Con again?”
As in minutes later and C-notes lighter is all it took to deliver a pair of digital passes to my phone.
This will be our third LA Comic Con, and though I would have been good with none, it’s one of those things I can’t say no to given how much my daughter loves her characters.
I recently asked her who her favorites were, and she texted me a list.
1.) Vergil 'Sparda' - [Game] Devil May Cry (Created by Capcom)
2.) Medic - [Game] Team Fortress Two (Created by Valve)
3.) Connor - [Game] Detroit: Become Human (Created by Quantic Dream)
Okay, I wasn’t expecting Superman and Batman, but did they have to be so obscure and unrelatable?
And don’t think I didn’t double-pump my fist and yell, “fuck yeah,” when the final game saver came through.
4.) Michael Myers - [Movie] Halloween (Written by John Carpenter)
Of course, no character is obscure these days.
No matter how far down the superhero, fantasy, or anime food chain you go, you’ll find everything from T-shirts to key chains to action figures, and because it’s Comic Con in Los Angeles, even Covid masks, emblazoned with the likeness of your favorite characters.
It’s way different from when I was a kid when the idea of finding merch to rep my favorite pop culture character was unthinkable.
Until one magical night.
Although I didn’t go to college, I spent my early 20s’ “college adjacent,” regularly traveling to campuses across the Golden State to visit friends, one of which was USC.
Back then there was a legendary on-campus bar called the “3-2.” Legendary for its lax stance on checking IDs.
Don’t get me wrong, they checked them. They just gave you a wide berth in terms of what they accepted.
California driver’s license.
Go on in.
Passport from Turkmenistan.
In you go.
Library card, Blockbuster ID, learner’s permit, a note from your mom.
Yep, sure, no problem, why not?
However, I never had much luck with fake IDs, and the one I had in my possession at the time was the worst of the bunch.
Representing itself as a Connecticut driver’s license, it was suspect, not just because it was clearly created on a dot matrix printer or because the great state of Connecticut certainly would not have forgotten the second “N,” but primarily because the laminate at the bottom right-hand corner was peeled back and a photo that didn’t remotely resemble me had been inserted.
“Rod Steele?” the doorman asked.
“Yep,” I replied with the confidence a half dozen Lucky Lagers coursing through your veins brings.
“From Connecticut, huh?” he said, clearly not buying the ruse.
“Yep,” I said.
“Where in Connecticut?”
“That’s in Massachusetts.”
Great, I thought, I’d come across the only doorman on the West coast with a degree in geography.
But as I was preparing to surrender my ID and sulk away into the night, in an amazing stroke of luck – for me at least - a massive fight broke out in the parking lot.
“Here, go on in,” he said, thrusting the ID back into my hand and running towards the commotion.
I swiftly obeyed, navigating my way through the crowd and to the bar where I ordered a beer.
Then, as I waited for the bartender to return, I turned and saw it, taped to the wall next to the stage where a raucous three-piece band was jamming.
It was the T-shirt of my dreams, repping both the name of said band as well as the image of my favorite TV character.
It read: The Larry Tate Experience.
For those who weren’t latch-key kids in the 70s’, Larry Tate was the president of McMahon & Tate, an advertising agency where Darrin Stephens, husband of Samantha the witch, from Bewitched worked.
If you don’t know Darrin Stephens, Samantha the witch, or what Bewitched is, I can’t help you.
Larry Tate was a man of absolutely no fixed center. Not ethically, morally, or intellectually.
A typical plotline involved a spell gone wrong, resulting in something crazy like an elephant materializing in the Stephens’ living room, forcing Darren to improvise a slogan for the client they were trying to land.
He would say, “An elephant never forgets to eat Branford cereal.”
And Larry would say, “Darren, that’s terrible!”
And the client would say, “But interesting.”
And Larry would say, “A terribly interesting idea.”
I loved watching Larry Tate. There wasn’t a dime he wouldn’t turn on or a position from which he wouldn’t backtrack if he had even the slightest sense that doing so would be in his best interest.
And it was the naked, shameless way in which he did it that made it all so funny.
Of course, in the real world, if you’re a Larry Tate you’re a horrible person, possessing the most toxic of traits. And if you have a Larry for a friend, boss, or spouse, you’ve got a serious problem.
But for traders, he should be our patron saint.
Imagine having the freedom that comes from holding no fixed opinion or point of view.
Being able to effortlessly switch from bearish to bullish and back again with no emotion, no hesitation, and no regret.
To throw away your current concepts of commitment, loyalty, and sentimentality in the blink of an eye should they diverge from what’s in your best interest.
It’s the dream scenario to be sure, but one I still haven’t achieved, even after doing this for 35 years.
Perhaps it would help if I changed the name of this newsletter. Maybe to something that reminds me to be more Tate-centric?
Okay, that’s all for this week.
I’ll see you next time, right here, in the Larry Loop.
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