Casey at the Mouse A tribute to the great American pastime.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – The outlook wasn't great for Casey Hazeltine that day; Several grand (on paper) were all but flushed away. And then when health care hit a snag, and metals lost some glow A sickly pall descended on his stock portfolio.

He rose then from his mouse and pad and all but beat his breast. "Where are the fast returns," he cried, "that add to life its zest?" He thought if only one quick hit could shimmy up the pole He might escape this horrid day and exit from it whole.

A lesser human might have quit or done some more research But Hazeltine was fast and bold and prone to thrust and lurch. He knew if he found something cool, something not old hat... He'd bank a ton of money--with a dot-com at the bat.

If someone had been there, perhaps, to suggest he'd blundered By wandering off the solid turf of Fortune's swell 500 Then Hazeltine would still have sheen and that would've been that; Instead he planned to get there... with a dot-com at the bat.

And so GM and--yes!--Wal-Mart he did then eschew Though each was oozing cash flow growth right out the old kazoo; And Ford, GE, and Exxon, gone, off the plank they went In spite of romping profit boosts of more than ten percent.

IBM and Citigroup, AT&T and Boeing-- Hazeltine hit the machine: Hello! They must be going! And Kroger, Enron, Compaq, Chase, and don't forget old Merck! While others raked in fortunes, hey--he wouldn't play the jerk.

He thought of Ed Kozlowski, that windy fat buffoon Who just last week showed off a boat that made the ladies swoon Because he made a killing on some Website at its height-- While smart guys here like Hazeltine did not. It wasn't right.

One-two, one-two, and through and through he bartered off his stable Building up his war chest just as quick as he was able. Oh! If his brains had graced his head instead of where he sat... But no. It would be fast, not slow--with a dot-com at the bat.

And now a stunning insight came hurtling through the air And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there: "Nasdaq!" said the pundits, "is the way to wealth and fame!" "That ain't my style," said Casey. "Too mainstream and too tame."

Then from the crowd in Casey's mind there rose a mighty shout; It rumbled through the rumpus room with Herculean clout. It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled through the house, For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the mouse. Dave Faber's eyes were on him as he surfed the Web for views; Willow Bay applauded when he burrowed through the news. As Neil Cavuto raised a glass of bubbly for to sip Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

With a grin of high ebullience great Casey's visage shone; He'd seen the best advice, and now he'd soldier on alone. Other folks had lost their shirts, been squashed into the mat But Casey would be different--with his dot-com at the bat.

iVillage, drkoop, and Medscape were among the few That Casey cast his eyes upon, salon and eToys too. might get it on. And fogdog had its points. They all were stuffed with promise. He felt it in his joints.

The sneer was gone from Casey's lip, his mind was thick as bisque; "Nothing big's achieved," he thought, "without a lot of risk." And then it hit him with a bolt. His heart was soaring, mounting. "MicroStrategy!" he cried. "Because of their accounting!" There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped up to the mouse; There was pride in Casey's bearing when he visualized his spouse. And when, responding to that thought, he double-clicked his trade He knew it was the smartest one that he had ever made.

Oh somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining still; The band is playing somewhere, and people don't feel ill. And somewhere kids are laughing, their future not in doubt But there is no joy at Casey's--his dot-com has struck out.

Big time.

STANLEY BING can be reached at