In the years 1999 and 2000 I was, of course, nine or ten years younger, nine or ten years less smart ('more stupid' is better, thinking again) etc. At the time I just couldn't make out the NASDAQ mania and stayed on the sidelines as it went up and up and up and up. Just sat and watched as my friends told me I was mad not to join in the fun.
And let's be clear here: I'm not one of those people who got badly burned by the crash, but I'm not one of those legendaries who (say they) rode the wave and sold just weeks before the top, either. I simply refused to go there and thus won nothing and lost nothing. I didn't go there for two reasons: Firstly I didn't understand the math involved...I couldn't see the value, the "fundamentals" (yes, i am boring..no need to write in on that point). Secondly there was an enormously vacuous and strange feeling in the pit of my stomach about it. It "just felt wrong" on some bestial or visceral level. Now I know very well I'm no George Soros, but he makes his big trading decisions (or so it's said) by gauging a pain he gets in his lower back. I can relate to that.
I haven't felt that feeling about things financial until today, but as I watched shares in Bank of America rise on the news it needs a $35Bn bailout it was deja vu all over again. There is no way I can possibly buy this market and I don't care if the Dow ends the year, the month or even the week at 10,000, either. I'm going to stay largely on the sidelines, dip my toe in occasionally, play my short-term trades, hold my lump of gold and be a whussy coward bear. I'll listen to others scream "BULL!" and tell me about their great week in the markets and ridicule me for staying majority in cash. And I'll sleep very well. Amen.