I was having a bad day in the markets. Depression, anxiety, frustration – all of the unproductive emotions were there. Aware of the signs, I stepped away from the screens and visited YouTube to listen to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. (Why Queen? Not sure. Probably because it was a change from the usual Bach and Mozart.)

The laptop which I use for YouTube dropped its WiFi, and the streaming audio got stuck at the word, “scaramouch.” SCARAMOUCH, SCARAMOUCH, SCARAMOUCH. Over and over and over, just like an old stuck record player. At first it was amusing. But hitting the cancel key didn’t stop the ghastly word. SCARAMOUCH, SCARAMOUCH. Alt-Cntl-Delete didn’t work either. The WiFi connection had dropped, and Freddie Mercury’s usual dulcet voice had gone into an apparition-like infinite loop.

SCARAMOUCH, SCARAMOUCH. Holding the power-off button didn’t even make Freddie flinch! The insane economy and politicians, the dropping markets, the frozen computer, the noise, and SCARAMOUCH – were all too much to bear. It was the worst hour of the worst week of the worst month in recent memory.

In a climax of frustration and hostility, I picked up an empty can of Pringles Potato Chips and hurled it – as hard as I could – across the room towards the internet router. It hit the wall, bounced twice, and remarkably landed upright in front of the router’s antenna.

“Thunderbolt and lightening, very very frightening…Gallileo, Gallileo….” The song resumed. (Probably unrelated, but the S&P-500 caught a bid at the same moment.)

I thought of the song’s lyrics, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” because I realized that when I removed the Pringles can, the WiFi signal strength dropped. When I placed the can back in front of the router, the signal strength increased. After speaking with a computer expert, I discovered that the Pringles Principle is known phenomenon; the can behaves like a parabolic antenna amplifier and boosts the WiFi signal,

Good things can come from serendipity and self-reliance. Time to re-read some Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string…."





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