Investing in the Stock Market By J. Pinkerton With Enron, Worldcom, AOL, Qwest, Tyco, ImClone, Dynegy, Global Crossing -- and, as of press time, every other corporation in America -- embroiled in scandal, many potential investors are turning away from the stock market, choosing instead to invest their money in pants. This is undoubtedly sound; every occasion demands the wearing of pants, be it a ritzy affair or a night out with friends. For the few moments where pants are not required -- lovemaking, eating dinner over the sink, and watching Fashion Television being first among them -- the threat of pants-wearing to come is nonetheless a pressing concern. Not that any of this has anything to do with the stock market, of course, which involves numbers and is ridiculously complicated. Still, though: do you have enough pairs? Is your money so precious? Please think about it. On to stocks. What Are Stocks? Let?s say I buy a pear for a dollar. The pear is both sweet and delicious, but for the purposes of this metaphor let us assume I don?t eat it. As time passes, the pear rots and decays, becoming very unsweet and not delicious. At this point, I could throw away the pear, cursing myself for having not eaten the damn thing just to forward the cause of a silly metaphor. But instead of throwing it away, I incorporate the pear and gather a ludicrous amount of investment capital by pushing Pear Incorporated as small-cap IPO growth stock. My many investors sit and wait for the pear to mature. And of course it will, though this doesn?t change the fact that it?s now foul and completely worthless. I cash in my shares and wire the swindlings to an off- shore account, then move to a tropical island, where I live out the remainder of my days having drinks served to me by almond-skinned girls in coconut bras, later to be fellated by same. This, in essence, is how stock works. What?s a Stock Market? A stock is an opportunity for somebody to sell somebody else "pieces" of something which hold no value; pieces he or she would otherwise keep if it had value. A stock market is the place where this piece would be sold. And while this sounds surprisingly straightforward, it naturally is not. For one, some stocks are listed on the exchange, and some aren?t. This is decided through high-stakes dart games, the rules of which are too complicated to get into here. Additionally, one is not only free to buy regular stock, but also futures. Investing in futures is a method of insuring that you can purchase make- believe stock at a certain price in the future. It is much like insuring oneself against a dealer?s potential 21 in blackjack, in that it is a fool?s game. To add to the confusion, anyone attempting to buy stock at a stock market is required to sport rolled-up shirt sleeves, sweat profusely, and holler numbers at someone standing on a desk. The person standing on a desk then points a pen at the stock-buyer and screams at him, at which point he is free to go home to his loveless marriage. If all of this sounds incredibly confusing, don?t despair. Stocks and the stock market are purposely confusing, so as to keep out undesirables. Yet none of it is terribly relevant when compared to the simplicity of the stock market itself: a bunch of white guys attempting to make scads of free money off other white guys. The primary rule of the stock market is to buy low and sell high, a simple enough rule. However, for the rule to work in any meaningful way, there must be just as many people willing to buy high and sell low, or else the entire system falls to its knees and spasms embarrassingly. For all the disorienting "NASDAQ"-this and "Dow Jones"-that talk, what the stock market essentially boils down to is a profoundly high- yield game of hot potato. In order for traders to make money off their low- bought stock, there must consequently be some podunk sap willing to buy it off them at a jaw-droppingly high price. This is where you come in. * For the rest of this article, including the answers to the questions "What's a Corporation?", "So What's The Deal With Enron, Then?", "But Enron Did Get Caught, Didn't It?", and finally "So What Should I Invest In?" please visit http://www.thebigjewel.com/investing -- To subscribe/unsubscribe from The Big Jewel's Hilarious Weekly Email please obtain legal form #25-TC3 from our lawyer Hank Jackson. Hank is available Monday-Wednesday, 9am - 11am, at Suite #3120 in the Clarkson Embassy Hotel in Syracuse, New York. No phone calls please.