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Cutlery, children and swans

February 15, 2009

A child’s bloodcurdling scream always triggers panic in a parent. Especially when sharp cutlery is involved.

The scream came after midnight. Rocky ran into his youngest daughter’s bedroom and saw the knife, and the look of terror on the girl’s face. But he saw no blood on the carpet. His pulse slowed a bit. He quickly examined her fingers, and saw there were still ten. His pulse slowed a bit more.

The child had been trying to activate an Itunes card. The process involves scraping off an adhesive strip to reveal a 16 digit alphanumeric code, and then entering the code into the computer. Unfortunately, her heavy-handed scraping with the knife rendered several of the letters illegible. In the best of times, it is difficult to discern the “I” from the “1,” and the “S” from the “5.” Now it seemed hopeless.

Rocky would sooner cut off his thumb than forfeit an Itunes card . (Particularly since Rocky owns no Apple stock.) He would not go down without a fight.

Rocky brought up his old cobweb-ridden microscope from a dark corner of the basement. Examining the Itunes card under 20x magnification, he narrowed the choices to about 1 in 456,976. After a decent day in the markets, Rocky felt lucky and he chose several probable letters. They typed the code into the computer. Voila! It worked on the first try.

As they high-fived each other, Rocky hoped this experience would teach his daughter at least two life lessons:
1) The role of Black Swans in life.
2) That Rocky is a great Dad.

Rocky pondered the best way to highlight these life lessons.

“Will you take a look at the blog, RockyHumbert.Com?” Rocky asked his daugher. “Just once? You’ve never looked…”

“Dad,” she replied, “Rocky is NOT real. He’s a figment of your imagination.”

“The odds were 1 in 456,976 that this project would succeed,” Rocky replied. “How real is that? Hmmm?”

“Ok, Dad. I guess you earned it. I’ll take a look.”

  1. ld
    February 15, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Rocky, very nice post! Tell her Rocky is as real as it gets as far as I’m concerned. 🙂 But then again maybe she’ll read this comment!

  2. A Fan
    March 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    An excellent lead. But what does it have to do with Roubini? And there was no Black Swan here – the incident was fairly predictable, and few if any readers believe that Rocky beat odds as large as 1:500k.

  3. March 5, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Rocky challenges the Fan to a Duel — where Rocky’s odds of winning are 500,000:1 …

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