SALtoshi Whitepaper #113
Last night I went to Atlantic City for the first time, and it was a ghost town. As my friend and I walked into a casino after midnight, we started talking about boxing for some reason. We stood in the gigantic entrance of Harrahs demonstrating certain boxing techniques when a very strange man approached us. Remember, it was a ghost town, so he caught our attention quickly, and we apparently caught his.
He was alone, and did some sort of half-circle around us, while facing us, and holding both of his fists against his chest, as if he was buttoning the top of his dress shirt. However, he was not buttoning his shirt. He appeared to be in a fighting stance, and had a wild look in his eyes. I don’t remember who spoke first, but he said something along the lines of, ‘I was just walking by, and you guys were staring at me.’ My friend and I don’t recall the situation happening that way, but regardless — I didn’t hesitate to apologize to him, and we slowly walked away.
We were confused. From our perspective, we were having a good time and minding our own business, while some guy came around looking for trouble. Also, to add even more confusion, he was quite small compared to us, and again, he was alone. He was no taller than 5’8” and maybe 160 pounds. My friend is 6’2” and over 200 pounds, and I’m 5’10” and 180 pounds. Unless he was a skilled fighter, super intoxicated, or upset about losing money, we couldn’t understand why he behaved that way.
Anyway, life goes on, so we sat down at a poker table, and played for a couple of hours. After donating money to the casino, we moved to a blackjack table, and donated some more money. I had only $21 left, which wasn’t enough to play another hand of blackjack, so we went to a roulette table. Other than the roulette dealer, one man was at the table — another loner. I asked the dealer for change, and she gave me all $1 chips. The minimum bet was $10, so I put 10 chips on the red 21. The man at the table looked at me and asked, “are you on drugs?”
Rather than adding more complication to the situation, I answered him in the simplest way possible by saying, “marijuana,” and he made a weird face and looked away. Another casino employee walked up to the table right before he asked me that question, and after I answered him, she was clearly upset with him. She loudly said something along the lines of, ‘that’s not something you ask another person.’ His response to her was something I’m laughing at today, which was something along the lines of, ‘he’s acting incoherent.’ She was visibly bothered by him, so I told her that I don’t mind, and the situation evaporated.
You might be wondering two things at this point — why am I telling you these stories, and was I acting incoherent?
I’m telling you these stories because life throws dramatic situations our way, regardless of how we’re acting, and our responses most certainly contribute to the outcome. I’m sure you can imagine both situations escalating quickly due to flared tempers and big egos, and turning into fist fights, or worse — which benefits nobody. And no, I was not acting incoherent. My only 2 goals were to get change from the dealer, and place a couple of bets on the red 21. Nailed both goals (lost both bets though), yet somehow that guy said I was incoherent, which means “unable to think or express one's thoughts in a clear or orderly manner.” My friend joked on the way home and said, “the incoherent guy called you incoherent.”
People tend to project insecurities on others. I’ve witnessed it most of my life, and I’m sure you have too. The pot calling the kettle black. Also, we never know what somebody else is going through behind the scenes. We often catch only a glimpse of other people’s lives. Those 2 guys might have miserable lives. Had my friend and I reacted negatively towards them, their potentially miserable lives would have gotten much worse, and again — nobody benefits.
Now is one of the greatest times to de-escalate dramatic situations whenever possible. Sure, swallowing our pride does not always feel amazing. And sure, not all situations can be de-escalated. Some people whom I have a great deal of respect for believe that violence does solve certain problems, and I agree. If somebody breaks into our home at night and tries to hurt us, then our act of violence in self-defense would hopefully solve the problem. We’re blessed though, because more often than not, our lives are peaceful, so we should do or not do everything in our power to keep the peace.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — PROVERBS 15:1
Until next time,
P.S. — Some people much smarter than me believe we are on the cusp of another recession. Nobody truly knows, but look at energy prices. If you believe we are (based on your own research), plan and act accordingly with your portfolio.