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September 24, 1998

Financial advice from the deceased

This week’s dead financial advisor is John Slighton of Shawseen, Nebraska. John died at the age of sixteen when he was crushed by a birch tree with a bad case of root rot. He left behind his love for cartography, his dog Cadence, his parents and, most of all, his girlfriend Lucy.

Dear Weekly Week: I believe that, due to the profound effect that Peter Lynch has had on both the professional money manger and the common investor, the recent crash was nothing more than a correction on overpriced stocks. Far from being scared, people after the crash were actually looking to buy these cheap stocks, just as Lynch has taught. Am I wrong?

I was never much for money. I had a job hauling corn at the end of the season. But other than that I wasn’t much for money.

I loved maps, though. I was going to go to the University of Nebraska. They had a good cartography program up there, in Omaha.

I sure do miss Lucy. We did it like rabbits. She loved cartography as much as I did.

I remember the first time we did it, we didn’t know what we were doing so we took out a marker and created relief maps on each other.

"Here’s the valley," I said to Lucy. I was referring to my belly.

"Now see how the valley rises. See it rise, Lucy! That ain’t no hill, that’s a glistening mountain! See it rise, Lucy!"

She saw it rise, over and over again.

Dear Weekly Week: If I gave you two nickels in 1975 and you placed one nickel in a mutual fund and taped the other one to the back of a pig — which one would be more valuable in 1998?

I’m not so sure about your pig or your nickel in the mutual fund. What the hell are you gettin’ at, anyways? Ain’t nobody who tapes a nickel to a pig ever got rich.

Oh those were the days, weren’t they, Lucy? We’d steal away to the wheat field. You were desperate and groping. The husks swayed above us, bending and waving over our tender bodies.

I explored you with a gentle touch. I wanted you to have the pleasure.

Your body was a blank map, you said. With lips so sweet, Lucy, you took out the marker from your purse and said, "Turn me into a wild, rambling arid country that is suffering from a drought and needs a hard, hard rain."

And I did.

Knowing that Sudan fit your lurid description, I slowly drew its contours. When I was done, you said, "Let the drought end, my people are thirsty!"

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