NW-Bound, I relate to all that you have said. When I read, "maybe because many of us are the ones who shed that blood"...dude... I lost 550K in what felt like about ten minutes, but was actually over a very short 4-month period from my high in July 2008 to the trough in October 2008. Jaw-dropping losses representing years of saving and living below my means. I'm not crying. I did very well on the way up, and I've just given back a bunch on the way down. I pays my money, I takes my chances. At this point, I'm not rich, nor am I poor, and I remain very grateful for any financial success I have achieved in life.
In 1999 I made a contrarian move by opening a small business in my hometown that many people felt would quickly fail. I worked hard, found myself with a bit of a cash cow, and sold the business and retired at age 48 in March 2007. After the recent market debacle, I've felt like a whupped dog, and have freely acknowledged that I know nothing about investing. One might also conclude that the folks with names like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns shared my same skill level, or lack thereof. But recently I've seen some recovery in my stock portfolio, and I'm finding myself interested again. On the one hand, this is my future I'm talking about. On the other hand, it's all just part of the game of life. And NW-Bound, like you, I never gamble. I go to Las Vegas once a year for the damn film festival!