Tuesday, October 12, 1999

Vegas, the Aftermath...

By Cassandra Dwight, CassWoman

Fools are an unusual lot, I must say.

Last weekend, roughly ten of us descended upon Las Vegas for a mini-Foolish convention. Since only two of us went to Fooldom for the annual gathering, we made our own! I've had a couple of strange reactions since I returned home:

1) You mean to tell me you went away for the weekend with a bunch of people you met on the Internet?

Well, er, yes, but it's not like they or I started posting on the boards yesterday. This Foolish community gets around, and people stick around because of how helpful, educational, and friendly the boards (generally) are. I know that I have formed some friendships that I consider to be more enduring than others I have made face-to-face. I already knew these people, and physically meeting them only added to the relationship and provided another dimension to each person.

I have met a couple dozen Fools from all over the country (and world), and so far every last one of them has been someone I would not mind spending time with again. And every last one of them has a sense of humor. By the time people have gathered most of the financial information they need for a while, they've made some cyber-buddies; they've found things that interest them and places to pass the time and discuss so many other topics that they still don't leave. My favorite board, Tag Heuer, is the board that spawned this Vegas trip. I can't tell you the last time we had more than a couple posts a month regarding the watch company.

2) And you didn't gamble at all?

OK, I will admit to putting some spare quarters and nickels in the slot machines while waiting for someone a couple of times. And I came home all of 45 cents better off in that regard. But I am by no means a gambler when it comes to the casinos. Too short-term, too risky. I much prefer dealing with a game in which I understand the rules, and the odds are far more in my favor, at least in the long term.

The stock market is a much safer bet, at least if you know how to play, and ignore any hot tips your best friend's dentist's brother might give you. I think most of my co-conspirators would agree with me. Even those who played the casino games were playing not to win the jackpot, but more for entertainment value. Oh, and there were the free drinks, too.

But no one gambled their retirement money at the craps tables. There was an involved lesson in how to play both craps and roulette, but that was sheer entertainment, and not done with a goal of bulking up the retirement funds. And it was entertaining to watch other people get so involved in winning or losing their money. Heck, in Vegas, it is entertaining just to watch people in general!

This gathering, though, wasn't about jackpots, or shows, or any of the things for which most people go to Vegas. It was about Fools meeting each other, or reconnecting after long absences, and making friendships. For that, it was an absolute success, and everyone had a marvelous time.

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