On Friday (November 9, 2001), I described getting into Wall Street as a 17 year old with a job in the Brokers Loan Department at the Hanover Bank. This job got me very interested in the stock market and a couple of people that were very knowledgeable about stocks took me under their wing.
At this time, General Electric invented the first synthetic diamond and the jump in market cap was more than the total market value of DeBeers, according to one of the guys and he went short GE. The euphoria subsided and GE then went down and he made money. From this I found out you could sell stocks you did not own and could buy them back later. If they were lower, you made money, if they were higher you lost money. In both cases, YOU had to pay any dividends the company paid.
Pretty soon afterwards, I went with my best friend to Francis I. DuPont, a major brokerage firm at the time, and we opened accounts. No one asked us how old we were.