The Still Early, but not as Early Years

Continuing on from the early years, I faced the first of what people call "Life's Little Traumas".  My parents decided that they no longer wanted to be together and split up.  Not that I can claim it was all that traumatic as all it meant to me for quite some time was that my mother lived up the street from my father.  In retrospect it was probably a pretty enlightened way of splitting up (I was given plenary power over deciding who I would live with, and when) and to their credit neither parent appeared to use me to attempt to hurt the other as they still got along pretty well.  Of course, this idyllic situation was changed when my mother remarried and moved to Arizona of all places.  Still being in the mama's boy stage, I packed my teddy (actually a paramecium, not a bear, go figure) and headed to the desert.

A brief interlude followed where I would attend school (grades k-1) in Arizona with my mom and spend vacations with my father wherever he happened to be (usually Denver).  It was around this time that my mother, deciding one three-foot tall monster wasn't enough, started having more children giving rise to my four brothers (Matthew, William, Thomas and Michael).  Times being tight, the early glimmerings of mercantile instincts surfaced with my picking up on the nature of supply and demand (fixed supply of attention from mom, increasing demand in the form of new siblings).  At this point I chose to reverse the school/vacation situation and moved back to Denver with my father (grades 2-5).  Then it happened, my dad moved out of the country to St. Bartholomew, F.W.I. (St. Bart's to you jet-setters).  Of course, I tagged along but after around half a semester at a French public school, it was determined by the teachers that, other than the French language, they had nothing to teach me as my knowledge of all other academic subjects (gained largely while attending U.S. public schools) was already beyond what they considered "primary" education (k-8).  I, of course, was just fine with the notion that I was now free to head out and make my fortune in the larger world, or at least live the life of a beach bum =), but alas, such a decision was not left up to me and I was unceremoniously booted back to the U.S. to finish up 6th grade while my dad figured out something to do with me...

I got to hand it to my father.  He came up with a solution that, in my humble opinion, was the most awesome solution to the education situation imaginable...correspondence school.  I moved back to St. Bart's and commenced 7th grade.  It was about as good as it gets, a day's worth of school took me about an hour to complete which left me free time to pursue other interests...

FX arbitrage (something that, in a perfect market isn't supposed to exist) - I first gained an interest in making money through manipulations of Foreign Exchange when I noticed that the dollar/franc exchange rate differed between St. Bart's and St. Martin.  Having access to effectively free transport between the two islands gave rise to what I thought was a foolproof scheme...if I could get my dad to loan me a couple of hundred dollars then I could travel back and forth between the islands and clean up on this market inefficiency.  Unfortunately, when I approached my dad for what I considered to be a "small business loan" of "seed capital" for "Mishler, L.L.P." he was less than impressed.  Undaunted, I realized that meant I merely needed to create my own source of capital.

Life in Retail (my first foray into independent business) - Needing to raise capital to satisfy my ambitions as a major player in the Windward Islands' FX circles, I started my first (successful) business, a shell shop.  Admittedly, by most standards, it was pretty primitive.  Ten fine conch shells on a retaining wall next to a jar with a hole in the lid and a label (in French and English) reading "10 Francs, please".

Life was good, I had a steady cash flow and was beginning to accumulate the capital necessary to initiate my FX scheme when I was struck by the next of "Life's Little Traumas"...the plane carrying my father and stepmother to another island crashed killing all on board and leaving me to pack up my things and with the help of my father's best friend, Scott, make my way back to the U.S. and The Middle Years.