|Shortly after this touching Christmas scene, my throat decided that it hated breathing.|
We had a blast.
I roughhoused with L, my oldest niece, until her bedtime.
|"More! Achoo!" - L|
|"Nom nom nom. Hack, Cough." -V|
Finally, we went out on Sunday to play in the cold winter snow at Winterlude.
|"Whee! Snuffle, wheeze." - L|
Shortly after they left on the Sunday, I felt a tickle in my throat. Illness is almost guaranteed after I spend time with family. We're good at sharing.
"I'll just take a cold pill to kick it," I thought to myself. I popped two Buckley's day pills and then went to sleep.
I woke up Monday, sick, and went to work.
Tuesday morning I was still sick, also cranky; I went to work.
|I was a joy to be around.|
Wednesday morning I still sick, also hideously disgusting; I oozed to work.
|Where I proceeded to repaint the office.|
By Thursday, I had enough of being sick and disgusting at work, so I stayed home.
When I woke up later in the day, I realized that something was different.
I shuffled to the bathroom and peeled my crusted, disgusting eye open to reveal that the devil had taken up residence in my left eyeball.
"It'll pass," I assured myself. I find that this approach works well for most illness.
To pass the time, I updated my stocks spreadsheet. It did not help the devil eye, which got redder and more itchy as the day progressed.
When my eye didn't miraculously heal itself as I had hoped it would, I turned my attention to the medical world. My optometrist was kind enough to let me pay her money to glance briefly at my eye, chuckle and write me a prescription.
|"My experience says that infection this is usually fatal. Just kidding. Take some eye drops."|
|"It's the only way to prevent the spread."|
Here is where the worlds of my illness and your interest in reading about finance intersect. Entering the pharmacy to fill my prescription and stock up on cough drops, I noticed that the shelves had been decimated. Their supply of cough drops was at a precipitous low.
All their non-prescription medication had been stripped away, leaving only the gross flavours.
|"Cough drops flavoured with all natural ingredients."|
Empty cough drop shelves at the pharmacy can mean only one thing: a death plague. I looked to the internet to validate my experience. I expected something dramatic.
The internet didn't validate my expectations. According to all traditional sources, the cold season was spreading exactly as much misery as it usually did, but no more.
|"What, you expect me to overachieve?"|
There was one shining beacon of hope: an article that stated that Google estimated, based on an increased quantity of searches on terms relating to illness, that more people than usual were getting a cold. They postulated that this probably meant that the cold season this year was worse than usual.
Feel free to question the scientific and journalistic accuracy of such an article. I know I didn't; instead I felt justified, like I had just unraveled some great mystery. I was a visionary, a noticer of great trends.
This isn't the type of website where I tell you that I used that knowledge and bought XYZ pharmaceuticals company which gave me a 1000% return in the last 6 months. I instead filed the information in my brain and proceeded to buy shares in two different telecommunications companies.
This kind of thing, noticing subtle trends and then using those trends to get an investing edge, is an investment strategy that many people use to good effect. Of course, your data has to be accurate for the strategy to work; it turned out that the increased search data didn't correlate to the actual US sickness rates.
A good investor is curious, interested and calm. I made my prediction, tried to substantiate it and then watched as I was proven wrong. I learned from my experience.
To you the reader, I pass the challenge. Try to find patterns in things. When you think that you've found a pattern, look it up and see if it's been substantiated anywhere. If it hasn't been substantiated, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're wrong; maybe no one has noticed yet. Try to imagine how you could use your knowledge of that pattern to make money.
Then--and this is only my advice--let it go. Don't act on the first idea you ever have. Wait and watch and see who does act on it, see how they do. Cultivate your ability to notice things.
Maybe one day, you'll be the one bragging about your 1000% return. You never know.
(Full disclosure: I currently own JNJ and ABBV, both of which sell pharmaceuticals. I didn't, however, buy them after my fever-driven inquiry.)
Note: I edited the first part of the story and removed the first picture; on rereading, I wondered if it seemed a bit mean-spirited to my nieces, who are two of my favorite little humans. Then my sister and my mother both said to put it back, so I did.