Nickels In The Bathroom

“Don’t use the east bathroom” the young kid in the yellow jacket announced, “it’s happened again.” The year was sometime in the early 90’s and I was visiting the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Huddled around a bank of phones crammed onto a tiny desk facing the D-mark pit, the other yellow jacket clerks and the two CME members with their distinguishing red blazers, just nodded at the information and went back to work taking orders from the ringing phones. Thinking someone would surely take a moment to describe why we shouldn’t use the east bathroom, I stood quietly waiting for the explanation. But it never came.

Thinking it must be some sort of gross waste accident, I imagined the worst. Overflowing toilet, water on the floor, plumbers desperately trying to fix it. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I whispered to the clerk, “what happened again?”

“Oh, stay away from that bathroom. You want nothing to do with it!” he urgently whispered back.

“That gross, eh?” I responded.

“Gross? Shit no. Even worse! There’s a f’ng nickel in the urinal!”

Traders are a superstitious lot. For this crew at the CME, using a bathroom with a nickel in the urinal was symbolic of pissing away money. And I get it. I know it logically makes no sense, but why tempt fate? There are plenty of other bathrooms. To this day, I still hightail it out of any bathroom with coins in the urinal.

I wish I could say my worries about superstitions don’t affect my writing, but I can’t. I fret that any sense of celebrating a winning trade will cause the Market Gods to instantly goocher it.

This concern has stopped me from writing about wheat for the past week, yet I can put it off no longer.

 With this sort of extreme market volatility, there is no rush to run out and buy wheat, but I wanted to highlight the recent action and discuss what this might mean.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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