What, Wall Street worry? Sure, the layoffs are beginning to hit the big banks (J.P. Morgan and Chase! Lazard!), and God knows, with the way the Dow's going, this year's record bonus checks already seem like mementos of a boom gone by. So what's the mood of the markets? Well, the tank-watch set doesn't get paid to wax reflective. You don't want hand-wringers managing your kid's tuition fund.
Just after work last Tuesday at the Hudson River Club, nine co-workers from CIBC Oppenheimer, all spit-polished and pushing 40, sat in a circle. The sun was setting behind them. Over cigars, Glenlivet, fried calamari, shrimp cocktail, and tiny lamb chops, the six men talked. The three women didn't. Styx's "Too Much Time on My Hands" played in the background.
Anybody worried about layoffs?
Jim: We've all been laid off!
Dan: He's just kidding. We're having a better time because so many people have been crushed by the market, they're coming to us to get their money back.
Ted: I've got to believe it's different for us. We're commission-based. As long as I'm producing more than the square-footage for my office, I'm okay.
Dan: Our job is easier. Our clients are no longer addicted to the casino. Before now, everybody was an investment adviser. You had Maria Bartiromo on CNBC calling herself an investment analyst.
Ted: Hey, she's got some serious lips, dude.
Jim: You know how Procter & Gamble announced 17,000 layoffs? Well, only 5,000 were in the U.S.!
Lou: You better check those numbers.
Dan: Anyone who's been working on Wall Street less than seven years is blinded. They don't know what it means to pick a stock and not have it go up.
Oscar: Hey, can you do an article hammering Giuliani for closing all the sex shops?
Jim: Hey, Bush wants to cut taxes $1.6 trillion. How much has the market dropped since January 1?
I don't know -- $2 trillion?
Jim: Good answer. Now triple it, bitch!
Dan: He talks that way to everybody.
Have you changed your spending habits this year?
Jim: Nah, he's been a cheap fuck forever.
Dan: Hey, I'm still getting that plasma TV. When it goes down to six grand.
Jim (to the waiter): Hey, Mike, keep up the great work! Has the bear affected you?
Ted: Yeah. People start drinking more now.