Riding the Beast
by Jean Dilling
I remember the first time I rode the "Beast," the largest, scariest roller coaster ride at King's Island
amusement park. When I got off, I swore that never would I ride again. A few hours later, I was back in
line, ticket in hand, ready to challenge the beast one more time. How ironic that I should compare trading
commodities to riding the Beast.
July 18, 1988, Monday: A young broker named Randy called to tempt me into buying silver. I would
have usually cut a phone salesman off but he was very pleasant, more informative than pushy, and I
found myself very interested until I realized he was talking about commodity investments. I could not
even consider using my secure CD's, mutual funds and bonds for a speculative venture, so I explained to
Randy that my money was tied up and not easily liquidated.
Completely understanding, he offered to call back in a few months and I promised to keep him in mind.
To be honest, I was not the least bit interested in commodities and never had been. Even in my finance
classes my eyes fogged over when commodities came up. I skipped the next couple of classes so I
wouldn't have to endure the boring "farmer" talk.
With my incomplete knowledge I saw commodities at two ends of a very short scale. At one end was
farmers auctioning for a good price on their products and at the other were the millionaires and large
speculators who bought gold and foreign currency. As a self-employed, Midwest businesswoman, I knew
my place in the financial world. Mutual funds and CD's were the only way to go. Safe and secure, albeit
slow and unexciting.