FootA military guy I used to drink with came down with Buerger's Disease. The docs at the Veteran's Hospital began cutting off extremities on his body. First came a toe or two. On the left foot. Then a toe or two on the right foot. Then the whole left foot, right foot after that.

He was footless. I kept visiting him at his home following these surgeries. Veteran's outfit bought him a wheelchair. Despite the severe pain he suffered because of the disease he kept on smoking, which is incident to the disease. Kept using alcohol too, along with a bottled concoction of pain medication prescribed by vet docs.

He told war stories mostly, laughed about many things others would cringe over. It would not be polite to repeat what I heard and perhaps his mind — recollections — were embellished by a bent to make a story better and then again by the drugged state of mind he was usually in.

Soon the surgeons removed one half of one leg and then most of what was left of the other leg. They took him from footless to legless.

His wife was Catholic and kept reminding him she wanted him to be baptized before he left this planet for another dimension of being. He put it off until one day I visited him with a gallon of wine and put a Catholic sacramental around his neck. Told him he would be saved if he surrendered to the magic of the sacramental.

Wife was happy — he was happy too, because the last time I drove by his house he was on the sidewalk doing circles with his wheelchair, twirling first one way then another. A wine bottle sticking out of a side pocket in the wheelchair. And he was wearing the sacramental around his neck.

Today he came to my mind as I watched the market cut off a piece of me, one little bit at a time. If this keeps up I won't have a foot to stand on.

Martin Lindkvist replies:

In the market, toes grow back!

I was struck by how well Mr. Smith's post about his friend's being amputated toe by toe, leg by leg, gives color to how he himself felt during Friday's decline. However, while real toes do not grow back, perhaps in the market they do?

For the longer term, I think Dr. Castaldo's recent update of the Fed Model might be indication that the market will stop short of amputating Mr. Smith's legs.

Medium term? Well, as one can never be quite sure what will happen in the market, perhaps we should all keep some grog handy (or sherry for those in management) in case the market amputates a toe on us every now and then.


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