by Mitchell Edgeworth
In 1980 my future self traveled back in time to speak to me. I was twenty years old, sitting on the front porch of my parents' house in Utica clipping my toenails. He was thirty years old, wearing a suit and tie.
"Pay attention," he told me. "You're going to invest in these stocks. Circuit City. Eaton Vance. II Mark IV. Gap...."
In 1990 he visited me again, now forty years old, while I was reading the Wall Street Journal over breakfast in my apartment on the Upper East Side. "Put that away," he said. "You're going to buy stocks in these companies. Biogen. Kansas City Southern. Middleby Corp...."
In 2000 he came to me while I was drinking a negroni at the bar at the Glen Cove Yacht Club, watching the sun go down between the masts of the sailboats. He was fifty now, but still looking good, with a little botox and maybe a nose job. "Apple," he said. "Intuitive Surgical. Priceline...."
After he'd finished off his usual list of about thirty stocks, as he stood up from the bar stool to leave, he glanced at me and added, "Oh, and sell everything in the summer of 2007."
In 2010 I was sitting in a deckchair on the back lawn of my beachfront mansion in East Hampton. My teenage son and his friends were messing around with the jet ski, and my nine-year-old daughter was building a sandcastle on the beach. I watched with slight apprehension as a hobo shuffled up the beach towards her, but he walked right past and came across the lawn towards me.
He'd aged terribly in just ten years. His eyes were bloodshot and the skin on his left cheek was mottled and red. He had a straggly grey beard and a nasty scar across his forehead. I could see his ribs through his grey t-shirt and his boots looked like they were held together with duct tape.