I was teaching my son the concept of integrity the other day: do what you say and say what you do. Simple. So when I capriciously and jokingly made a comment to a new Twitter disciple (er, follower) that, in celebration of her being @LessonsOfLunacy’s 100th follower, I would write an extensive blog post about her country that I had never heard of, Karachays (yes it does exist), I soon after realized that I must keep my word lest I offend said new follower and become a hypocrite in the eyes of my young son.
I didn’t mention to her that I would also combine this write-up with the results of my recent “coffee” poll.
So I will flex my creativity muscle today and do my best to write a post that will very smoothly transition from Karachays, to coffee and from there, who knows. Hang on for the ride if you have nothing else to do. If you have stuff to do, you should still keep reading. Here we go…
The most striking part of Wikipedia’s write-up on Karachays is that the first paragraph reads like a run-on intro to an interstellar science fiction novel:
The Karachays are a Turkic people descending from the Kipchaks and probably the remnants of the Cumans with some admixture of the medieval Alans and native Caucasians, their Turkic language is the same as the Kumyks from Daghestan. The Kipchaks came to the area of the Caucasus in 11th century A.D, the state of Alania established in the Middle Ages had its capital in Maghas, which some authors locate in Arkhyz, the mountains currently inhabited by the Karachay (others place it in modern Ingushetia or North Ossetia). In the 14th century, Alania was destroyed by Timur and the decimated population dispersed in the mountains
The next paragraph explains how the Cylons came offering peace, which proved to be a ruse and how with a traitor named Baltar, a massive attack ensued on the Twelve Colonies and the Colonial Fleet of starships that protect Commander Adama.
Oops, I sorta slipped into the Battlestar Galactica premise there. My mistake.
Anyway, reading through Karachays’ history, I’m seeing that I’m going to have a hard time making a transition to coffee. They don’t seem to have general topography or socio-economic structure that lends itself to large-scale coffee production; but their traditions and customs do seem to be centered around funerals and fierce loyalty.
This tells me that I should be very careful I don’t offend @worldofamina. But it also says that Karachai will never offend a guest, so I think I’m safe as long as (1) I keep an emotional distance and (2) the Karachai consider causing physical pain to someone or their family as a form of offense. Wait, what am I concerned about? Nowhere on the internet can one pin down the physical location of Yorick von Fortinbras, the Functional Lunatic. I’m safe. OK, I digress…
The Karachai do have a very interesting modern history. In the late 1800s, many migrated to Turkey to escape repression by the Russian Army. Unfortunately, Turkey also has no evident relationship to coffee based on a detailed assessment of their Wikipedia site (I actually just searched for the term “coffee”). I must keep digging for this transition.
OK, this is interesting: in 1943, most of the population were forcibly deported to central Asia where disease and famine took a large percentage of their lives. While extremely sad and unfortunate, this still does nothing for my smooth transition to coffee.
Wait, I see that Karachays is near the Caspian Sea to its east and the Black Sea, which is also nestled between the southeastern part of Europe and the Ukraine – of which I am a 1/8 descendent…and I love coffee.
I love coffee so much that I bring my own crystals to work. I’m used to what the crystals offer me and I’m not fond of the uncertainty that goes along with the large industrial strength coffeemakers that large, rich companies allow to lurk in their pantries, even though that coffee is free.
Until today it was free. Yes, today as I was filling my cup (containing a teaspoon of Nescafe crystals) with hot water, I heard someone come in behind me and just grunt. I turned and saw that the coffee machine now had a little brother next to it and you had to feed the little guy 25 cents before the big guy come to life.
From that experience came my desire to determine the pulse of the world on this topic. So let me tally up my poll results right now…let me see, 4 total votes (2 of which are mine). And the overwhelming majority of people out in WordPress and Twitter-sphere believe, when asked the question, “Would you pay 25 cents for coffee at your workplace (when it used to be free)?” respond, “Hell no, they want me to work, they should feed me coffee.” That settles it.
I think for my next poll I’ll need some kind of flashing red light to lure more people in. It works in Amsterdam.
Strangely, that reminds me of a recent idea I had for a short story called “The Last Time.” In a near-future world with slightly advanced technology to ours, every time a person sees something or someone for the last time in their life, they are notified of that via a visual indicator like a red flashing light. Naturally, as a person nears death, they would see more and more of these indicators. This premise could lead to some pretty intense moments: a healthy, young person suddenly starts seeing lots of flashing red – is he going to die? Lovers leaving each other for a long time might wait to see if the indicator popped up as they turned away. What if it did? Could they change the fact that they were seeing each other for the last time? If you saw red and then looked away, could you not look back? You would try. Imagine if you woke up one day and everything you saw was red…
Since I’m writing stream of though right now, why stop? I had another thought for a short story: it starts with me driving down the street. People are rushing out to the edge of the road to watch me ride by – or so it appears. I’m trying to figure out why. All of these people look like they are in such a hurry to see me, to watch me drive by. Why? Well, if in the future there is time travel, don’t you think there would be a market built around it just like anything else new and fresh? Of course. Don’t you think there would be companies offering trips back in time to 1815 to watch Napoleon get defeated at the Battle of Waterloo or even further back to watch the execution of Jesus? Of course!
So what I’m witnessing as people are rushing to the street to see me is that I have somehow become so immensely popular sometime in the future that people are coming from the future to see me in some historically famous event that is going to happen…right…now! What happens? I guess you’ll have to wait for the time machine.
That’s enough rambling for now. This is probably one of my more incoherent posts, but I knew what I was getting into at the onset. All I can do is say that, yes, this is called “The Functional Lunatic” for a reason.
To @worldofamina, I hope I did your country justice. And now that I’ve fallen below 100 followers again – I must have pissed someone off – I now have to find another 100th follower. I just hope they’re from a country I know more about – or one that produces coffee.
And remember, if you see any red flashing lights, it’s on you to quickly figure out whether you are about to die or if it’s just another meaningless poll from The Functional Lunatic.