Skip to content

Knowing and Doing

Keith Tucker


Special to The Enterprise

There is an adage that knowledge is power. That’s true only if you can make use of it. Years ago, as a little league coach, my teams were usually quite successful. My recipe for success was practice, aggressive base running, and correct utilization of the players. One night during a game, a guy watching the game from the fence said, you should swap second and third because second can make the longer throws better. And he was exactly right, and I did but I was disappointed that I had not seen it.

Now and again, I dabble in the stock market. Whenever the economy tanks every 10 years or so there is always opportunity to buy at bargain prices. But knowing what and when and why is the key to success. Understanding the economy is the first step to coming up with a strategy. There are the government indexes, but there are some other rather unorthodox methods that one can use.

The skyscraper index says that right after the world’s tallest building is done, the economy tanks. The Empire state building, the Sears tower and the one in Dubai were all followed by market crashes.

Then there is the lipstick index. Cosmetic sales increase during a recession and peak at the bottom. The rationale is women who are economically stressed tend to compensate by trying to look better.

I may not have a job tomorrow, but I’m going to look my best today mentality sounds right. It would seem there are people to track this sort of thing. And tall buildings are examples of men stretching their resources too thin to one up the competition.

It has been said that during a market boom, a monkey could pick a winner. But the suits on wall street have egos the size of ocean liners. Once, after a market crash, an investment firm sent me a letter and said we lost some of your money, but we think we lost less than the other guys would have. I went ahead and asked for it back because of the arrogant attitude. I’m never going to be a good gambler because I don’t have a thorough knowledge of the odds.

Alan Greenspan, world famous economist used the men’s underwear index to help make economic decisions when he was head of the federal reserve. Once, when I was walking down a street in Atlanta, a police-escorted motorcade came flying by with the lights and sirens going. It was quite spectacular.  Turns out it was Greenspan attending a meeting at the federal reserve building. Apparently, the underwear index is very accurate. It seems that men’s underwear sales are very consistent year-round except during a crash when it goes down. When money begins to tighten, men will forgo new drawers and make do. He set interest rates accordingly. So, there you have it.

Open your underwear drawer and choose wisely.

Editor’s note: Keith Tucker is a Greenfield resident and owner of The Marble Shop. He may be contacted by email at

Leave a Comment