“Pi is an infinite, nonrepeating decimal — meaning that every possible number combination exists somewhere in pi. Converted into ASCII text, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is the name of every person you will ever love, the date, time, and manner of your death, and the answers to all the great questions of the universe.”
This blog post is dedicated to the random nature of my life, everyone’s life really, when you think about it. The following short stories are the summation of the less boring events of the last five days in my ordinary random life_ but we have no proof.
“Are the Digits of Pi Random?”, The Huffington Post, D. H. Bailey and J. M. Borwein, Updated 16 June 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-h-bailey/are-the-digits-of-pi-random_b_3085725.html>
A Grocer’s Premium Meats and other stories
“Capitalism, when did I sign up for that? “
I am vegan, most of the time; however, I do believe in listening to my body’s cravings. Should I wake from a dream filled with the tastes and aromas of a perfectly broiled Delmonico steak, my favorite cut of beef, you may rest assured that I will purchase that cut, prepare it with slices of button mushrooms, a baked potato, and a vegetable of choice. This is a rare and wondrous meal that I seldom prepare for myself.
It occasioned during the early hours of Monday morning that I should be visited by such nocturnal imaginings, and I resolved myself to obtain the item of my corporal desires. Unfortunately, the next trip to Market Basket is not scheduled until the “Day That Will Live in Infamy.” I thought to myself, “I do not want to wait another three to four weeks before satisfying my craving; therefore, I decided to walk to a local grocer close to where I call home. The item I sought was amply stocked and my salivary glands began to function as designed, until my eye focused on the price sticker and the amassing salivary amylase halted abruptly. $14.99 per lb. is what I read; this is close to triple what the same cut of beef retails for at Market Basket.
The butcher’s helper, who just happened to be stocking the bins during my astoundment, received my full attention.
“Why is your beef priced so high?” I inquired.
“Higher than whom?” He responded.
“Market Basket beef is one third the price per pound of yours! I informed him accusingly.
“Oh, all of our meats are “Prime” cuts of beef, pork, and chicken.” He replied with haughty derision. “Market Basket carries a lower level of USDA inspected meat.”
“Oh yeah, well I got your prime cut right here!” I said while grasping my crotch. “You have no variety.
“We carry most cuts of beef, is there something special you want, we can provide any cut you would like.” He replied helpfully, hoping to rid himself of this crazy old man.
“Yes, I would like something that I can afford.” I demanded and of course, you know his reply.
Now, I prefer to shop at Market Basket in the first place; however, without transport my options are limited. I will have to forgo satiating my desire for yet another four weeks.
Elitism- The grocery store where this interaction took place practices a form of elitism that is only surpassed by its management’s pomposity! Refusing to offer your customers a range of USDA levels is just hubris. Believing that their store and clientele are so wealthy as not to care about the cost is inexcusable, elitist, and nothing but what I expected from so pompous a family owned business. It flows directly from a belief that I have mine, so you can go pound. This is what comes from living in a capitalistic society. An economic system where the distinction between wealth and poverty steadily grows to a point where a merchant believes that he need only cater to the tastes and pocketbooks of his wealthy clients.
*************Same day, different mood. *************
Brown Skinned Girl
A brown-skinned young woman stood in line waiting her opportunity to place her beverage order. From my vantage, seated directly in front of the barista’s counter, I admired her comely features. She wore no discernible makeup. Her eyes were large and deep brown, protected by luxuriously long lashes; the longest eyelashes I have ever observed.
*************You Are So Vain*************
“You walked into the Coffee Shop
Like you were walking on to a yacht
Your red cap strategically dipped below one eye…”
Someone, I do not recall exactly who, suggested that we, of the liberal persuasion, should engage in polite discourse with those who have identified themselves as being supporters of the newly elected Administration. Until this day I had only engaged with members of the far Right in online disquisitions, it never turned out well.
How could someone raise my ire so emphatically, simply by walking into the room, strolling past my table, and wearing a bright red cap, emblazoned with a shibboleth that read “Make America Great Again?”
I so wanted to engage this man in a discussion regarding his provocative headpiece but I feared my rage, a similar anger to the one that he and his ilk had so recently soothed by virtue of the outcome of the 2016 election. I wanted nothing so much as to rip his lid off his gray-haired head, say something profoundly progressive, and walk off triumphantly. However, I was afraid, afraid that this endorser of racism, misogyny, and hate would do something untoward, requiring me to respond in kind.
While I sat, thinking of all the clever comments that I could hurl at this man it occurred to me that I was behaving like a coward. How could I ever again claim the moral high ground if I did not at least attempt to engage the man in conversation. Plucking up my courage, it was close to the time I need to leave to catch my bus anyway, I walked toward where the man was seated.
“Excuse me, I do not mean to disturb you but I could not help but notice you cap, and I would like to ask you a question.” I began. “Why? _You do realize what a Republican Administration headed by Trump will do to people like me? So why do you support such a man?”
The man began his even-tempered, thoughtful response by stating that he believed that Trump had the skills the country needed. Then he told of his own story.
“I am a business owner. I have started two companies, the second of which is doing quite well.” Yadda, yadda, yadda, I, I, I, and so on and so forth; basically intoning that he was a captain of industry, a self made man, like Trump, who says what he means. My take away from his soft spoken but smug answer was, here is someone who feels “I have mine, so you can go pound, _and I want more!” I felt the rage building inside but kept it under tight restraint and continued.
“There are many people, like me, who are frightened by some of Trump’s statements and actions.” I said.
“Oh I do not believe that anyone should worry about that, he will be good for the country and straighten out Washington.” He claimed.
It was at this point that I decided that it was futile to talk further with this true believer. How can you shine a light in a room that is already so bright with its own glow? Here was an obviously wealthy, well educated, and erudite individual who in one perfunctory conversation had totally dispelled my image of the average Trump supporter. This knowledge frightens me even more now that I know that there are upper middle class individuals who are more than willing to support an incompetent, dangerous, and severely flawed man for the most powerful position in the world.
************* A most disgusting morning! *************
I like to walk along the Rail Trail that is currently under construction near my residence in Acton, MA. During my walks, I have seen copious numbers of Deer tracks that indicate that there are many in the area. I do not have to remind you that where there are Deer there are also Deer ticks. This morning I found one attached to my person. I will not say where it had located itself, it suffices to say that it did not bother to buy me diner first.
I quickly took to the internet to determine the quickest and safest method of removal and proceeded with the described operation. After bagging and freezing the specimen for later identification per the online recommendations, I thoroughly washed the area with disinfectant soap. I can only hope that I successfully removed the entire disgusting little arachnid.
I will refrain from my walks through the woods until I can purchase a product that contains DEET for my clothing. I assume the pest hitched a ride on my pants during my last excursion this past weekend and crawled up my pant leg afterward, until it found its desired destination. Gag me with a spoon that was so gross I may never recover or venture out of doors again.
It was a bright, sunny Friday morning when I discovered my guest; therefore, I decided to email my Primary Care Physician and seek his advice. I immediately received instructions to thoroughly wash the area and to take a double dose of an antibiotic my Doctor prescribed and phoned into my regular pharmacy. I readily complied and went about my usual day.
I have an allergy to a specific class of antibiotics. I am asked at almost every doctor visit if I have any allergies to which I always answer; “yes, I am allergic to Tetracycline.” By Sunday morning, I was not feeling well. Noticing the usual lesion that indicated that I had ingested the drug to which I am allergic, I took to the internet to search for the name of the meds I had been prescribed. Sure enough, they are from the same family or class of antibiotics. Incensed I sent this email Sunday evening:
“Dr. X et al,
Allergic reaction to Tetracycline and Doxycycline
“Tetracycline and doxycycline are part of a class of broad spectrum antibiotics known as tetracycline antibiotics. All antibiotics in this class of medications are derived from the same basic four-hydrocarbon ring structure. Each medication, however, is slightly different in terms of exact ring structure, recommended uses, pharmacokinetics, and documented bacterial resistance.”
Why on god’s green earth would you prescribe for me a medication from the same class of drugs to which I am allergic? You people have asked me enough times if I have any drug allergies and my response has always been “YES, TETRACYCLINE!”
I have not see a lesion on my person like the one I developed Sunday in over forty years. Same lesion at the same location.
Your very unhappy patient
Signed in the usual manner”
By Tuesday, I had received no reply so a resent the email, only this time a Nurse responded informing me that my Doctor has been out of the office since last Friday; so now I wait for an answer to my query; however, I already have prepared my response.
“If you were aware of the antibiotic conflict then you should have informed me of the possibility of a reaction and allowed me to make the choice. If, on the equipoise, you were unaware of the harm your prescription would cause then shame upon you for not knowing. Not only have you caused harm, minor though it is, you have also managed to damage my trust and faith in the physician-patient relationship. I honestly do not know how we proceed from here.”
Not that he is in danger of an auto-da-fe, but he is exposed to continued obloquy and condemnation from me.
*************Friendship, love, and other concerns*************
She is a survivor, just like me. We met online. I read her comment, shared on a mutual friend’s post about her diagnosis and I decided to reach out and offer what support I could. We began our remote friendship tentatively and I did not expect much to come of it past a few appurtenant exchanges confirming our shared malady. My new friend’s name is, well let us just refer to her as “Sophie.” Sophie had just received a diagnosis of breast cancer requiring a double mastectomy, understandably, she was fearful and not a little concerned about her future.
We shared cancer stories and survivor stories over the next eighteen months, well into her recovery. We exchanged photos of each other and I was quite taken aback by the comeliness of this young woman . Sophie has a vibrant personality and exuberant love of life; I was certain that she would be fine, once her restorative surgeries were complete, and she felt confident enough to go out socially again. Little did I comprehend the importance of size to the female mind.
Sophie had her heart set on new and improved breasts, something she claimed to have desired since seventh grade. She was crestfallen when her Surgeon informed her that implants were incompatible with the life saving chemotherapy medication she needed to take.
We began writing via Facebook Messenger almost daily and a bond developed that for me, filled a void I did not know existed in my life. Sophie and I would go on cyber movie dates together since we are not geographically compatible to actually to meet in person. Cyber movie dates work like this, we both would rent the same title and watch it together on our separate screens 1,695.86 miles apart. We would make text comments via cell phone, critiquing the film, the actors, but never the company.
We conducted lengthy disquisitions about myriad philosophical topics; however, it became obvious to me that a now healthy young woman, like Sophie, needed more in her life than an aging old wordsmith for her to be fulfilled; Sophie must begin dating again, and with real flesh and blood males.
By this time, I had assumed a parental role in our relationship, the age difference, geographical incompatibility, and my distaste for socializing precluded our becoming more than cyber buddies. It was not that I would have discouraged or rejected an intimate relationship; unfortunately, I would make a poor partner in any romantic associations either here or in cyberspace. Regardless, Sophie still needed guidance and I resolved to provide what aid I could.
We continued to correspond even after Sophie summoned the courage to “put herself out there.” Moreover, my admiration for this survivor only increased.
Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there are many self-absorbed wankers out in the dating world. All are of the swinging dick variety. The people Sophie was meeting were not fully formed men yet, just boys whose only interested was in satisfying their own prurient needs with little regard for the feelings of others.
After a while we began to correspond with less and less frequency and I would have to hunt Sophie down from time to time, as she would disappear from social media without warning. When we did reconnect, she would express elation at finding a new love interest or despair when that relationship disappointed. I tried to respond with quotes and anecdotal euphemisms intended to support Sophie’s frame of mind. Here is a sample of one such parable.
“A man once asked his father, “Father, how will I ever find the right woman?” His father replied, “Forget finding the right woman, focus on being the right man.”
Finally, Sophie wrote me that she had met someone nice, respectful, and kind. Somewhat younger that her; however, that was a much needed ego boost, or so she reported. In subsequent correspondences, Sophie confided that her new boyfriend/young friend/snuggle pal suffered from bipolar disorder. Alarm bells and sirens went off in my head, I was deeply concerned and stated as much in as gentle a manner as I was capable of, while conveying an imperative to be cautious. I recommended that Sophie read the novel entitled, oddly enough with her namesake, Sophie’s Choice a disturbing novel that details the pain and suffering experienced by a post WWII Nazi Concentration camp survivor and her bipolar boyfriend. Bipolar disorder is eminently manageable today with medication, as long as the patient remains on their meds. I was concerned that my cyber buddy was getting involved with more than she could handle.
As of this writing Sophie is working out physically on a regular basis, working on herself, and maintaining an on again off again relationship with her bipolar friend who I refer to as Mad Max, make of that what you will.
“Most people in your life were only meant for dreams, and summer laughter. They stay till the wind changes, the tides turn, or disappear with the first snow. And then there are some that were forged to weather blizzards and pain with you. They were cast in iron, set in gold and never ever leave you to face anything alone. Know who those people are. And love them the way they deserve. Not everyone in your life is temporary. A few are as permanent as love is old.” ~ Nikita Gill, Temporary and Permanent