this evening I was invited for a nice supper by a friend - it was a lot of roasted shrimps with toasted white bread & some champagne first & later red whine on - we sat on the balcony on this still very warm early September evening - candles were alighted & the words were a-flowing -
well 'she' was still drinking champagne while her friend & me had changed to red whine (later on I noticed that he changed to beer), while M. & me kept our line.
Conversations & slight discussions - I hardly knew him & the main talker was her friend, not because he had more to tell, but it was somehow hard to interupt him - & often if you interupted you felt, that he was hardly interested in what you had to say to the theme - eager to continue what he had to say -
His main themes in the early evening was Portugal history & Portugusian colonies etc. - we made an excourse to political situations in Indonesia (Timor) & Israel, USA in general etc. - racism in Portugal & counterwise here etc. & a bit of soccer (his fave interest - not mine) - later on he mentioned that he was the middle one (medial?) of 10 brethren - I told him you can't be the middle one in a number of ten - the middle is exactly between the 5th & the sixth of them siblings -
- he argued 5 is the half of 10 - so he is the middle one - hmm - I raised my 2 hands with my 10 fingers up with my left thumb to the right & my right thumb to the left & said: "Imagine the first 4 fingers are your older 4 siblings & you are the 5th - so the thumb - but then there are still 5 more younger siblings after you - so either the middle is between each five fingers of my hands - or you should say, both thumbs (the fifth & sixth) are together the middle -
I thought my raised 2 hands as very impressive to get a feeling what is exactly between two exactly equal quantities of fives -
He seemed to still not seeing the point yet - so I showed him starting counting from the other hand, that the 5th from there (so beginning from his youngest brother) is the sixth from above & otherwise -
well he didn't get it - he then tried to convince me by telling me that you can't start to build a house by the roof - you first have to lay the bottom - then the ground walls, the ceilings & later on the roof - you can't start building a house with the roof - this he told me to tell me that I can't start to count from the youngest ones - you have to start from the oldest - because that's the natural order of life (well at least he didn't use religious or political reasons to prove his point!)
I noticed that he was turning a bit angry at me - his girlfriend sometimes believed in me sometimes in me - in other words - she didn't get the point at all.. - I think it became a personal thing for him to prove, he's right - I began to think maybe I should change the theme to avoid trouble between him & me - but on the other hand I really couldn't say he was right - so instead I tried to relief the situation by little jokes all the while - I didn't take it serious, but I mentioned he was taking it seriously meanwhile, maybe of too much beer meanwhile & he didn't want to lose his face in front of his girlfriend ..
So as he saw I wasn't convinced yet - he brought out some toothpicks which he laid on the table to prove my error
10 toothpicks he laid out for me - easy game for me - they laid all in a row - I pulled out the fivth (which is him) a bit above the row - 4 in front of it - 5 on the other side - that can't be the midth!!
I told him: "Imagine you are only 9 siblings" - I removed one of the 10 toothpicks (& when he had stopped arguing that they are not 9 but 10 & I repeatedly said, but this is only an example) -
I showed him that 4 younger toothpicks & 4 older tootpicks to his left & right made him exactly the balanced middle toothpick (the exact position tootpicks ever desire) -
then I laid a 10th toothpick to left side (the younger siblings side) to show that now the exact balance wasn't given anymore to to fifth from the right -
He said: "5 + 5 make 10 - so 5 is the middle" - Argh!
He left the balcony for a while for the toilet (Americans would say for the bathroom, but we here know what people do there) , but when he came back he brought a tape measure - in a somehow angry voice he said: "Show me where here is the half of 10 cm!" - Hmm - I told him: "At cm 5, but this tape measure starts by zero, not by one - from zero to five - it's exactly 5 cm - from 5 cm to 10 cm it's exactly another 5 cm" -
He tried another example: "What is the middle between 2000 & 2010 - I told him "5, but in this case you started with zero (the end of 2000) - so it's 11 numbers & the middle is five - & you don't start to count the number of your siblings by zero - but if you start with 2001 - the midth is 2005.5 (so again between 5 & 6)
As I noticed that he really took it seriously - I had "Seinfeld's" Constanzo in mind in that situation where he was playing Trivial Pursuit with that boy in that oxygen tent - while the boy gives the right answer, Constanzo insists that the answer on the answer card (which has a print failure as we all know) is the right & the boy gets so crazy, that he destroyes his oxygen tent & has to be put to hospital) - oohm - I didn't wanted to be so stubborn insistant like Constanzo with my truth, because I felt that this guy was getting totally mad at me..
so I didn't argue to his arguments anymore but instead tried to change the theme, by asking him how his other 3 siblings had died (they were 13 once) & so could intrigue him to tell me more about a bad accident in which his older brother had died...
Well there's no use to argue with people who can't count to three - I had this once in my early youth - I was 10 years old - I was in 4th class in school - our teacher made an experiment with us to build little teams with 4 people - sitting on 2 tables for 2 vis-a-vis together - building little work teams - every of these groups had a leader of the group (decided by the teacher by who was best in grades) , a second henchman & 2 other members (of course in our group I was the leader) - sometimes (well seldomly) we got tasks which we should solve together as group.
One of these tasks once was, that our little 4-groups should join in some corners & places in our classroom - to give us maths exercise questions clockwise - this meant one of us was standing in front of 3 giving them math questions in sequence for a while - then the next on of the 4-group stands in front asking math questions (we could read these questions from some papers we got) - I think our teacher gave us a sign when we should change the order for the next one to ask & the former questioner to go back to row.
But soon I noticed that there was a injustness in our order to ask the questions - you see the picture? - An interrogator asks 3 persons in front of him this little math tasks (3 x 7, 12 + 19, 57 - 13, 16 / 4 etc.) , asking them from left to right & from right to left - but I quickly noticed that my compagnons made it wrong:
They were asking the first from left, then the second, then the third, then the second, then the first, then the second, then the third, then the second, then the first - etc. etc.
you see the point? - If you don't see it - then you'r one of them - because my fellows didn't see the point either, as much as I tried that this order of questioning was wrong - the middle one get's about twice as much questions as those on the left & right - you have to ask the first, the second, the third, - again the third, the second, the first - again the first etc. - or on the other hand - always start again from the first after you've asked the third - to make sure that all delinquents get the same amount of questions.
& all of my 3 partners weren't able to see the point - they didn't believe me that the middle one gets twice of the questions then those left & right to him - all my arguing didn't convince them & because they were three against one - of course they continued to do it in the false way -
Exactly this was the day, that I became aware, that democracy never really works out if there is a majority of fools, who only think, because they'r the majority, they are right -
Since that time I never believed in majorities anymore & I give a shit to democracy if I exactly know that I'm right & all others are wrong - but on the other hand I give democracy a chance if I compare it to the tyranny of just one single fool - democracy only works partly because the leading gang of joker players of politics understands to manipulate the masses to agree with politics they would never understand, if it wouldn't be told & translated to them in pictures & schemes they may agree with..