Thursday, December 9, 2010

Genius, Language, Culture and Humor

One of the things I do in Odessa is study Russian with a tutor once a week. We talk, work on grammar, translate sermons and lesson and sometimes we read stories. One of the benefits of reading stories is that you can discover a little about the Slavic mindset. It is said that language is the heart of culture. I recently read a humorous that struck me as very Ukrainian. I am not sure why it sounded Ukrainian, it just did. I think the author was Russian but humor is definitely in line with the humor I observe in Odessa. Below is a rough translation….enjoy.

Five Minutes of Genius
A fantasy story by V. Bachnova (по В. Бахнову)

A few years ago, a friend of mine from school invented a new medicine called ozarin. The ozarin pill made the person who took a genius for five minutes.

It was not possible to purchase ozarin. Only researchers and scientists could obtain it and only if they were on the verge of an important discovery. Ozarin would help them complete their research.

At that time I had already completed a Masters degree and I was working on my dissertation. When I was finishing my Master’s, I became interested in a problem connected with automation. The work was not only important to me but was important to my professor also. He proposed that I pursue a doctorate so that I could continue research on this problem. Many at the institute were also interested in my work. They thought that I was on the verge of a major breakthrough. I also thought that I was close to a breakthrough, but I couldn’t find a final solution.

Then my friend came to help me. He proposed that I take one of the ozarin tablets and said that it would help me find my final solution to my research.

But does it really work for five minutes? I asked.

What do you mean? He answered. You become a genius for five minutes. That is plenty of time for any discovery. Of course, if Newton had not studied gravity for so long, he would not have made his great discovery when he saw the apple fall. The time he saw the apply fall was only a short amount of time. But it was enough time for him to complete his theory. You will have five minutes like that. You have worked on this theory for several years and five minutes of genius will help you find the final solution.

I agreed. Even while I was a student, everyone was interested in my research. Everyone said that I was talented and could figure out this discovery.
I was a little nervous but I took the pill. I went home, sat at my desk, took the tablet and waited for my minutes of genius.

It worked. The minutes appeared. Ozarin is truly a miraculous pill. On that very day, I completed my years of work.

In the first minute I right away realized that my work was not worth a cracked penny and would not change anything in modern automation.

During the second minute of genius, I realized that I have absolutely no talent or giftedness.

In the remaining three minutes, I wrote my resignation to the director of the institute. I wrote that I had to give up my position as a graduate student because I was not able to complete my dissertation. Later, everyone said that the resignation was written by a genius.

I recently heard that ozarin will soon be available for purchase at local pharmacies and I remembered my story. I heard that there were so many people who wanted to buy it, that there was a waiting list.

Well, let them buy the miraculous pill, ozarin – it really works. Who knows what they will discover during their five minutes of genius.