A True Story* [Fribble] June 6, 2000

Fribble A True Story*

By Dan Pringle
June 6, 2000

I work for an engineering firm a stone's throw away from Fool HQ in Old Town Alexandria, VA. In general, engineers fall somewhere on the social awkwardness scale between computer professionals and accountants. Luckily, I have found a group of semi-with-it guys with whom I hang out at work.

Like most groups of single guys, we have a hanger-on. His name is Russell. I won't bash Russell too harshly in this public forum, but let's just say he tries very hard to fit in -- it's extremely apparent to everyone how hard he is trying to fit in, and, as a result, Russell doesn't fit in. His over-eagerness has spawned a dozen favorite "Russell Stories," that are retold time and again, and new episodes are faithfully added every week.

Lately, a few of us at work have gotten into investing our disposable income, and naturally, our lunchtime banter has focused on the gyrations of the market and how our stocks are faring. On one of our hour-and-a-half Thursday lunches, Russell was hardly able to contain himself. Beaming, he announced to the group that he had just opened an Ameritrade account and, that very morning, he had plunged his entire $10,000 savings into MY favorite stock. When I asked him to which stock he was referring (I have no favorites that I am aware of), Russell pointed proudly at a truck parked in front of a restaurant across the street. We looked at the truck, and then looked back at Russell. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"SYSCO, guys -- I bought SYSCO!"

For a second, we looked at him in horror, and then started laughing uncontrollably. We laughed so hard our stomachs ached, we pounded the table, tears streamed down our red faces, and I literally nearly fell out of my chair. It was one of those protracted laughing sessions where no one could stop. Just when we were able to simmer down to a sustained snicker or giggle, one of us would lose it and it started up all over again. After the machinations subsided, we patiently explained to Russell his error. Humiliated, he tried to convince us that he actually meant to buy the stock of the food delivery company.

Incidentally, since that day, March 2, 2000, CISCO is down 14%, and SYSCO is up 65%. Russell thinks he is a genius.

We don't talk about stocks at lunch any more.

*[By "True Story," I mean it is completely fabricated.]