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THE THREE STEWARDS


Stewart the Steward was patting himself on the back. His boss, a hard man without an ounce of patience or forgiveness, was returning today from a long business trip, during which he had bought and sold several companies. In the course of that trip he also put ten thousand people out of work and made a billion dollars, even in a horrible economy.


Stewart had been one of three employees entrusted with his millions during his absence. The first had been given ten million dollars to manage; the second, five million; and Stewart, only one. All had gotten busy with their research. He had sat through Bernie Madoff’s spiel, and Jerry Corzine’s presentation for MF Financial. Stewart was certain that his competitors had put all their money with those two discredited people, and just as certain that they had lost all or most of the cash. Stewart was a gold bug, and since his boss gave him the million in gold coins, all he had to do was bury it someplace safe, and wait for the inevitable uptick.


But what is this? Employee One made his report. He bought Apple stock high, and it went higher–even doubled. The boss, obviously pleased, gave him a big promotion. Employee Two did the same, doubling his money by selling the Euro short. Stewart gulped. The big gold run-up had stalled, and the coins he had carefully hoarded were worth the same as they were when he got them. Stewart was put out on the street in the midst of the worst jobs market of his lifetime, and he could forget a letter of recommendation.

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