With the exception of one very black swan (I was a cheerleader in the ninth grade—and considered it one of my greatest accomplishments) I have always been something of a nerd. I say “something of” because I don’t consider myself a nerd. Nerds to my mind are the quants of the world—mathematicians and computer scientists. I just spend more time thinking than average folk. I think about Bach, growing dill, chaos. I’m a hopelessly eclectic intellectual.
Did I ever stand a chance of being anything else? Here’s a picture of me as an overly serious, chubby 19-month-old. I’m now older and skinnier but remain far too serious and am still not exactly a fashion plate.
One manifestation of my intellectual eclecticism is a stamp collection that is more attractive and hence hugely less valuable than Bill Gross’s. One thing I never collected was tax stamps, but when I saw the Designing Better Futures article I was intrigued. Nick Gogerty revisits the history of stock, commodity, and derivatives transaction taxes by looking at tax stamps. It’s both fascinating and scary. Take a look.