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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

I May Have to Towel Off After This Bout of Exercising — Whew!

Unsane at any speed.

The wife and I made it back this afternoon from the wedding we attended in New Jersey. Unfortunately, nothing much happened. Well, I suppose technically all manner of things happened, but nothing interesting enough to bother you fine folks with. The whole thing came and went without much of note, I’m afraid.

(To the somewhat-distant observer, that is. I’m sure that most people there were noting all sorts of crap, from the pre-ceremony to the after-reception party at the hotel bar. But I didn’t note anything, really. A good time I had, but noting I did not do. No. No noting was done by me. Enough Yoda-speak. Moving on.)

I suppose the timing or the wedding was a bit to blame.

(You know, if you’re the sort of person who looks for blame in situations like these. You really do need help; you know that, right?)

The ceremony was scheduled for 10:30am, you see. And yes, that’s an ‘am’ there, not a ‘pm’ whose ‘p’ was mangled in some horrible bendy accident. Ten-thirty in the morning, that’s when these folks chose to ‘get it on’. Um, betrothally speaking, that is.

Which puts these people a few long strides on the other side of the old sanity line, if you ask me. I suppose I’m just not a morning kind of guy. Personally, I do my best to avoid any important decisions before eleven, or even noon. My wee little brain just doesn’t function well enough in the morning hours for me to trust it with decisions or money or sharp objects before lunchtime. I can’t even imagine trying to get married, of all things, before I’d fully woken up. Hell, if we’d done our wedding that way, we’d still be sorting out the mess. I’d have put my tuxedo on backwards, and stood in the wrong place, and kissed one of the groomsmen when the time came. Who knows who I’d have ended up married to — my grandmother-in-law or somebody, with my luck. ‘With this ring, I do the what with the what-what, now?‘ Yeah, no thanks.

But these people pulled it off, so good for them. And in under an hour, too, which I was really impressed with. I learned on the trip down that it was to be a ‘Catholic wedding’, so I got a little nervous that the early start time was in effect to make sure the damned thing would finish the same day. I”ve heard about these multi-hour, fire and brimstone affairs. But it wasn’t like that. Nope, just a simple ‘da dum de dum, da dum de dum’, and then wham, bam, kissy-kissy, there you go, husband and wife, don’t let the door hit you in the bustle on your way out. Quick and easy. Very nice.

Of course, the downside to a morning wedding is an early afternoon reception, which is obviously sub-par. There are bucketfuls of wild and crazy shit that can happen at ‘someone else’s wedding’, you see — this is the type of event where some people really let down their hair and get loony. And loopy. And, not coincidentally, hammered off their ass. Which only leads to more shenanigans, the type that might actually be worth writing about.

But that shit doesn’t happen by the light of day. Oh, no. When these people lift highball to lips and see the noonday sun peeking through the window over their glass, they put on the brakes. Nobody minds being ‘the wild guy’ or ‘that drunk girl’ at someone else’s wedding, so long as they can slink off to their hotel room and sleep it off right away. But when they know they’re going to be up and among (semi-)coherent people for twelve more hours… well, the air comes right out of the proverbial balloon, and nothing terribly interesting gets off the ground. No stripping, or streaking, or puking, or falling, or dropping, or making out, or any of that good shit. So, I got nothin’.

(Six paragraphs about nothin’, apparently, but in the end — nothin’. Not much of a wedding, if you ask me.)

And so, I’ll have to find another topic for the evening. Any requests, while I’m here? Something you’d like to see tonight? Anything? No? Okay, I’ll just wing it, then. We’ll see how far that gets us.

How about this — I’ll talk for a while about stock options, and you can see whether that makes you want to bludgeon yourself to death with your mouse to end the boredom. Don’t worry — I’ll stop if it gets too scary. Your safeword will be ‘grumblecheese’. Feel free to use it if things get out of hand.

So, about these options. They’re becoming a royal pain in my assterior. They’re all from my last job, which ended in July. I had three months after my last day in which to decide whether to ‘exercise’ the options, and so I decided to sit on them until the very last minute. Which is rapidly approaching.

(My wife reminded me to start looking at them last week, but clearly, that wasn’t the very last minute, now, was it? A last minute, perhaps; one of the last minutes, but not absolutely the last minute. So I put it off until today, which is much closer. Gotta do these things right, after all.)

Anyway, here’s the problem. I was at this last company for close to three years. And they shoveled out options at a fairly steady pace. To make matters worse, the options awarded at the one time didn’t always ‘vest’ at the same ‘rate’, so they ended up in different ‘lots’.

(Oh, I should probably mention that — for the purposes of this post only — a word in quotes is some financial stock thingy word that I either had to look up or ask about at some point in this process. Or invent a definition for — I did that in a couple of cases, too, actually. I really don’t get out much when it comes to anything involving money, or stock, or vesting rates. Or rating vests, for that matter. Mr. Blackwell is speaking Chinese, for all I can tell in those lousy reviews. Can’t we all just wear jeans and get along?)

(I should probably also mention that I’m a moron. But really, isn’t that fairly obvious by now?)

So, I’ve ended up with no less than eleven different ‘lots’ of options. All with different ‘option prices’ and number of ‘exercisable shares’. Fine. I came up with a simple plan for dealing with these little bastards. Any ‘lot’ with shares below the current price, I’d buy. I’d then calculate — based on the current price — the profit I’d make by turning around and selling those shares right back. If that was enough to buy some of the shares that were above the current price, then I’d think about picking up a few of those, too. It would all depend on the numbers, and whether it was worth the hassle.

Well, the hassle, it turns out, starts way before that. The hassle begins when I read the sentence that says that a certain ‘option type’ won’t be taxed upon ‘exercise’. Which, of course, implies that other, less fortunate types will be taxed. Likely early, and almost certainly often. But at what rate, and by whom, is left to the reader’s imagination. So, of course, eight of my ‘option lots’ are not of the non-taxable type, meaning that they are to be taxed, which throws a big fat gorilla wrench into my neat little plan.

So now I’ve got to calculate not only the cost for the options that are priced lower than the current stock price, but then I have to calculate the tax for each lot, and add that to the total. Based on what tax information, I really can’t say. Twelve percent, twenty, thirty-one and three-quarters? Who the hell knows? It’s all gibberish to me. I can almost feel the little nerve endings sizzling in my brain. Ssssssssssss.

So clearly, I don’t know how much money I need, even to buy the ‘safe’ options that I should be able to turn an immediate profit on. This is to say nothing of being able to calculate said profit, deduct taxes from it, and turn around and decide how many more shares I could afford to buy with the remainder. (Allowing again for taxes on those options, like the good little boy that I am.) Excuse me while my eyes roll back into my head and I flop on the floor like a landed crappie.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, but now I’ve got less than two weeks to actually do it. So ‘decision time’ is rapidly approaching. I think I may just send them all the money I can muster and say, ‘Here. Now exercise whatever you can with this modest wad of cash, and tell me what the fuck I ended up with. Just keep it simple and don’t make me dizzy, damn it!‘ Somehow, I think that might be the wrong approach.

(Probably because my wife just read that and said, ‘No, that’s the wrong approach.‘ Dammit! I’d have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling spouse.)

So maybe tomorrow I’ll get out my thinking cap and my pocket calculator and a number two pencil and see just what the hell I’m working with.

(Other than a handful of nearly-worthless options and a pint-sized brain.)

I’ll ask my wife to double-check my work, and at some point we’ll bite the bullet and make the deal. The instructions won’t match the size of the check, of course, but at least we’ll start the ball rolling. And maybe when the dust clears, we’ll have more money than when we started. I’m not counting on that, mind you, or even betting on it. But it’s possible, right? It’s not guaranteed to go shockingly wrong already. Only overwhelmingly likely that our money will leap down the shitter, never to be seen again. Still, those are better odds than I’m used to, so I guess we’ll go for it. It’s only money, right?

Anyway, that’s my current dilemma. Or at least the one topmost in my mind at the moment. I’m sure I’m forgetting a veritable plethora of other fine messes, but I can only screw up one thing at a time. So right now, it’s ruining this option thing. Tomorrow, who knows? I’ll crash the car or electrocute the dog, or accidentally sell the house or something. It’s always something around here.

Still, I have to say — it’s good to be back. I don’t mind travelling a bit every now and then, but I’m really most comfortable right here at home. Even if I do have to deal with options crap and laundry and all the other housy shit. Besides, on this trip, it was really good to get back to the friendly confines. Like I said, nothing much happened, and the wedding was held in New Jersey. New Jersey, folks. The old homestead may have some issues, but it’s not in New frickin’ Jersey, I can tell you that. So really, things could be worse. Hey, when I put it like that, those options don’t seem so tough, after all! Maybe I’ll get some ‘exercising’ done this week yet!

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