Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One Afternoon at a Bank

At  two o’clock on Wednesday afternoon I was at the local branch of a bank.  I had to cash a check otherwise I wouldn’t have been there… I didn’t expect many people to be there; but I was fifth in line.  There were five teller windows, but, naturally, only one was open.

The line was pretty diverse: a tall, young black guy who looked bored; a middle-aged black lady who looked tired; a young white guy holding a child of about two in his arms; an elderly white woman who kept looking around; and me. 

Methinks “Only one teller window open, figures.”  “They’re probably trying to save money by keeping personnel to minimum staffing—at the expense of customer patience and convenience."

As we stood in line buried in our own thoughts and lives, suddenly the little boy, cried out loudly:  “Daddy, Daddy”

“What is it, son?” His father asked with mild curiosity.

In a most happy little voice, the child asked, “Daddy, Dracula bite neck?”

We all burst out laughing: the tiredness, boredom, and other worries of our day melted away; we were no longer strangers but one happy family.  We all started chatting about TV shows, children, families, patting the little boy, etc.  I could only wonder what the little boy watched on TV, but suddenly even Dracula sounded like a great guy in the child’s happy little voice.   Made my day, and everyone else’s.

Whenever I’m sad, I remember this story, and it never fails to make me smile.

By:       Homeless with a Laptop, That is my Name
            Бездомные с ноутбуком, это мое имя

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Monday Visions on the Rearview Mirror of a Car

Another Monday driving to work… I took different a route just to change to scenery.  I’m lucky to have the opportunity to change the roads I drive in; yet wind up in the same place…

         Anyway, as I stopped at a traffic light, I looked at the rearview mirror.  There was a red Toyota SUV of some type or other.  In the Toyota was a middle-aged guy, little chubby, hunched over the wheel of his car.  He did not look happy. I wondered what his life was like. 

          Sitting next to him was a young girl.  She was about 12 years old.  The man, whom I assumed to be her father, did not look at her or otherwise speak to her.  It was then that I noticed that she had earphones on as she began to slightly shake her head to some music or other… She had a cherubic little smile on her chubby cheeks as she ever so slightly swayed…

          The vision in the mirror changed completely… Only a happy family can make a child feel like that.  The guy was no longer an angry-faced driver… but a Dad driving his kids to school… the grimace was but a moment in time…

        The light turned green and I drove away.  I was so happy that the young girl was not being yelled at, but was happily listening to music even with her grumpy-looking Dad…

It was a very nice day…

True story

By:  Homeless with a Laptop, That is my Name
   Бездомный с ноутбуком, это мое имя

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Marx-Engels on Hangovers as Evidence of Dialectical Process

I must admit that I’ve never expected to find humor in ‘The Collected Works of Marx and Engels’; but … never say never.

In a discussion on dialectic transformation of quantity into quality, V. Afanasyev observed that “quantity and quality are interconnected; in the process of development imperceptible, gradual quantitative changes pass into basic, qualitative changes.  This transformation takes form of the leap.  This is the essence of dialectical law of the passage of quantitative into qualitative changes.”   Marxist Philosophy, by Victor Afanasyev, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 3rd Ed. 1968, p. 113.

Interestingly, Friedrich Engels offers a great example in “Dialectics of Nature.”  Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 25, New York: International Publishers, 1987.

The law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa… in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or quantitative subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy.)”  Id., p. 367.

The sphere … in which the law of nature discovered by Hegel celebrates its most important triumphs is that of chemistry.  Chemistry can be termed the science of the qualitative changes of bodies as a result of changes quantitative composition. Id., p. 359

What quantitative difference can be caused by the quantitative addition of C3H6 is taught by the experience if consume ethyl alcohol, C2H6O, in any drinkable form without addition of other alcohols, and on another occasion take the same ethyl alcohol but with a slight addition of amyl alcohol, C5H12O, which forms the main constituent of the abominable fused oil.  One’s head will certainly be aware of it the next morning, much to its detriment; so that one could even say that the intoxication, and the subsequent “morning after” feeling, is also quantity transformed into quality, on the one hand of ethyl alcohol and on the other hand of this added C3H6.”  Id., p. 360
This confirms that the experience of Soviet communism was theoretically correct: The intermediate step between socialism and communism is alcoholism, a qualitative change [at least in theory]. 

As a practical matter, I suppose that it depends on what you drink.  I offer, purely in a spirit of scientific curiosity, a bottle of Chivas Regal to that end.

By:  Homeless with a Laptop, That is my Name
        Бездомный с ноутбуком, это мое имя