Friday, April 15, 2011

Wall Street and Football

Working on Wall Street is a lot like playing football. When you are young it is glamorous, exiting, and it pays very, very well. If you stick around too long, your REAL life expectancy, the one that counts, is often cut short (actually in the case of football, its not "often". Average life expectancy for pro football veterans is 55 years of age. That sounds OK when you are 22... but at my age, well... that's just unacceptable!).

Joe Battipaglia has died. He was 55.

Most people know of Joe from his constant appearances on CNBC (one of my good friends from my Bear Stearns days is another giant of a man that is often on CNBC... no names, he reads here on occasion.. I hope he takes this to heart. Hint, hint). I knew him back in the day when he was at Gruntal & Co. We were friendly in that people that knew us used to say that Joe was the only guy on Wall Street bigger than me. Only a slight exaggeration. He was a couple inches taller and quite a bit heavier. (Believe me, being known as being larger than yours truly is not a good thing as far as life expectancy. Big people don't live as long as small people. If you are over 6'2" in height, its best not to tempt fate with any excess poundage around the middle.)

And now he has died. I don't know what the circumstances were, but it has been reported that he had a heart attack at work. Spending time making more money when you are already rich ( a great many "rich people" don't even know they are rich... often they have ratcheted up their living expenses in such a way that they simply must continue on the gerbil wheel until it kills them.  To my mind, Joe would have been better off as a laborer digging in the earth) and commuting long distances in and out of New York City rather than taking care of your health strikes me as self-defeating.

Bruce Wasserstein, Matt Simmons, Joe Battipaglia... wealthy, respected, and dead... spending your later years sitting at a desk to make more money while not taking care of your health is a self defeating outcome of our way of life. Read this excellent article about spending too much time sitting... and this in today's New York Times... how and why it is killing us even if we make it to the gym several days per week. Over 50 (like me!)? Seems nature and evolution wants us to be more active than 3 visits to the gym every week.  This is something to pay attention to.

Life is short enough.  We need to be productive, but there is no need to help the Grim Reaper along, he'll be here soon enough.  Dying is not terribly productive.

In the end, its all about one thing - To Life!

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