So I’m on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday for the Fast Money halftime show, bumping into friends who trade down there – Steve Grasso, Kenny Polcari etc. The producer grabs me for the debate segment on YUM Brands, I’m the bear and Pete Najarian’s the bull.
We’re whisked across the floor, wireless mics and ear pieces attached, to a camera set-up in front of the steps. The light goes on, Scott Wapner intros us and we do our thing (I think I won). All of a sudden, I see a trader making a beeline for me from the other side of the trading floor – and it’s Art Cashin!
Now rather than do a few paragraphs worth of hero-worship about Art, suffice it to say that I consider him to be a living legend. His published commentaries are one of the few can’t-miss, must-reads in my routine, dripping as they are with the hard-earned insights and evergreen market wisdom of a fifty-year career spent in the belly of the beast. So yeah, he’s a huge deal to me and to all real investors and traders.
Anyway, I’d never met him, but Art comes over and says “Young man, I just wanted to congratulate you on making one of the best jokes ever on CNBC that went right over everyone else’s heads…”
My heart stops – really? What did I say?
“You were on last summer and they asked you if the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon was bullish for Kindle and tablet sales. You said with a straight face, ‘No, because women tend to want the physical book so they can take it into the bathtub.’ And not one person noticed, but I thought it was great! I still think of that joke when I see you on TV, wanted to tell you that I got it. That’s all, nice meeting you.”
Art walked away and melted back into the crowd of blue-coats. I was impressed that he’d remembered something like that, but even more than that I was stunned that he would take the time to come over to talk about it. Barry knows Art and tells me the guy has a mind like a steel trap, can recall hundreds of instructive trading stories and anecdotes from different decades on command. I don’t doubt that for a moment.
Meeting Art Cashin is a major thrill for me. Being complimented by Art Cashin is totally out of this world. I had to take a few deep breaths later on yesterday when the cameras were off and the door was closed.