It's OK to be Upbeat

I was in my office yesterday and I got a call from an old contact and friend — and I do mean old. Al's his name and he's what Wall Street calls one of the veterans. He's been trading stocks for close to 70 years. That's right, 70 years!

He had heard about me extending my contract at Fox and he just wanted to congratulate me.

Al's retired now, but he's as sharp as a tack. So I asked him, what do you think of the markets now?

"A mess," he says. "But I've seen messier."

Then I mentioned all the corporate scandals. They're not pretty, he told me. But it's all probably good that they're happening now.

"We'll cleanse the bums out," he predicted.

So you're upbeat, I asked.

"You betcha" he said.

Things could be a lot worse and he proceeded to recount prior Independence Days in this country.

The ones during the Depression, when we had little to celebrate but did.

The ones during World War II, when we had a lot to fear but didn't.

And the ones in the early 1970s when we had short tempers over long gas lines but kept steadfast hearts.

I was beginning to get his point: things could be worse and were.

But somehow, someway, we trudged on. We are a nation defined more by the sum of its strengths than the sum of all of its fears.

Of all the calls from all the people I've been happy to receive these last few days, Al's was my favorite. Because Al made me think about the good things we have, even when it looks like we don't.

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