11 November 2013

Moments of Recognition

I subscribe to TED's daily presentations. I do not watch each lecture - some topics simply do not grab my attention. One day this week, however, a presentation grabbed me. The topic may seem quite dry, it was, "The Magic of Fibonacci Numbers.

Fibonacci was a Renaissance Italian who really deserves to be better known. His texts form the basis of how we look at mathematics to this day. He also noted a set of interesting sequences that are useful in descriptive applications. I am not going to tell you about them, you can go to the free TED lecture and learn about them. Here is a link to that page.

What grabbed me was a memory. Oh the TED lecture is very solid, and very entertaining at the same time. And the speaker is a world class mathematician. But it was an association in my memory that had very little to do with numbers that caught me up.

About 20 years ago, give or take, my then best friend was interested in trading on the Chicago Board of Trade, and I think some of the other exchanges to make money for retirement. One of the graphics he has interested in was a dual line graph that showed the points at which the actual price of a future crossed an extension of a set of Fibonacci numbers describing the 30 day moving average of end-of-day prices. I simply did not have the nest egg necessary to join his venture and I do not know how it turned out.

At the time however I did have one asset - my knowledge of the AT class pc's. In order to run the software he used to select trades. he needed a dedicated co-processor. I had the skills needed to install it. So we spent an afternoon taking his PC apart, installing a board, and moving jumpers so that the co-processor and CPU could co-exist.

Now there is only silence and disdain where once that friendship flourished. I was the nerdy, over-weight, thick eyeglasses, and slow footed boy in high school. I managed, I do not know how, to make one friend. If you had asked me years ago, I would have told you that was an enduring friendship. No more, and no explanation. He simply tells me he will call me back, and doesn't. Once is an oversight, two years form a pattern if not a Fibonacci number.

I cried while I viewed the lecture. In another lifetime, years ago, I would have forwarded the link to him. He would have viewed it. We would then have a topic for dinner at a good pizza spot (this is the Chicago area where there are lots of them.)

So, I cried. Then I wrote this post. Life as it is wont to do moves on. Mine is focused on my grand babies, although at 9 and 6, they are not babies anymore; my wife, and children including the grandest and smartest daughter-in-law in human history; and my parish. It is almost enough. I still do not make friends easily, and there is a hole there in my life. I wonder if he feels it too? But then I remember who cut me off, and I know the answer amidst more tears.

We always took a night to shop for Christmas gifts together. Another hole in the road ahead. Ah well, I have no money to shop with in any case. So life will roll over that pain. Almost.


Christal said...

Hi Dad,

I wrote the following on April 3, 2000, when a treasured friendship abruptly ended.

"A Friendship Known"

Having just hung up the phone,
I sit alone.
Betrayal is the only word that comes to mind.
Anger and despair start to kick in,as tears come to mind.

I miss you too much to speak.
I loathe you too much to scream
With my knuckles in my mouth
I bite deeply to see if there is feeling.

This ocean of mixed emotions captures my soul for a moment in time.
Its invoking power makes me apprehensive, because it is insuppressible.

Then, the early morning hours come, and the tide releases me from its grip.
A calmness overtakes me, as I know the friendship is over.

Dad, I empathize. I wish there was something I can do to help. Let me know if there is--I love you.

George Waite said...

Not to be brutal, but not too many men want to be pals with other guys who cry and talk about crying about not being friends with another man.

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